10 Proposed Amendments to State Constitution

Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 3:15pm

Texas voters will decide on ten proposed amendments to the state constitution.

The aging constitution was enacted in 1876, and has been amended and updated 400 times.

Voters head to the polls November 8th.

Here are the proposed amendments:

Proposition 1 would let the Legislature give property tax exemptions on all or part of the market value of homes owned by totally disabled veterans or their surviving spouses.

Proposition 2 would let the Texas Water Development Board issue larger general obligation fund bonds - up to $6 million - to pay for key needs.

Proposition 3 would allow general obligation bonds to be issued to help finance student loans.

Proposition 4 would let the Legislature give counties the ability to issue bonds or other funding to pay for redeveloping blighted, underdeveloped or unproductive areas and raise ad valorem taxes in those areas to help repay the debt. "This would enhance counties' ability to designate transportation reinvestment zones, providing an important financing tool to expand and improve transportation options," said Elna Christopher, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of Counties.

Proposition 5 would give the Legislature authority to let cities and counties enter into interlocal contracts with other communities in an effort to consolidate various services and programs without requiring the communities to meet tax assessment and sinking fund requirements. "Current law prevents local governments from jointly financing and operating extended consolidated services -- such as criminal justice buildings, animal shelters and equipment maintenance facilities," Christopher said. "[This] would change that to allow such consolidated projects, which could save taxpayers money. By pledging the revenues from these programs, the cities and counties will not need to levy additional taxes to secure these programs."

Proposition 6 would allow for more money to be transferred from the Permanent School Fund -- which helps finance Texas public schools -- to the Available School Fund, which is the pot of money the Legislature is allowed to draw from to spend on Texas schools.

Proposition 7 would let El Paso County be included in the list of Texas counties that may create conservation and reclamation districts to develop recreational facilities and parks.

Proposition 8 would give Texans using agricultural exemptions more tools to manage their property by encouraging water quality improvement projects.

Proposition 9 would let the governor grant a pardon to people who successfully complete deferred adjudication community supervision.

Proposition 10 would revise the "resign to run" provision in Texas law, extending the length of time elected officials may serve in office once they announce their candidacy for another office. Some say this is to address the filing deadline that was bumped to December, from January. Under this provision, elected officials may announce plans to run for a different office one year and one month -- rather than just one year, as the law currently states, before their term ends -- without having to resign their post.

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