A closer look at the proposed amendments
When Texans cast ballots Tuesday, they will consider nine proposed constitutional amendments.
The amendments would add to what is already one of the longest state constitutions in the nation. The Texas Legislature has proposed 656 amendments since 1876, and voters have approved 474 of the 653 submitted to them, according to the Legislative Reference Library.
Each of the amendments on the November ballot has been approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate and will require majority approval from voters to take effect.
Proposition 1 — Authorizes the Legislature to provide a property tax exemption for the spouses of veterans. This amendment specifically authorizes a tax exemption for all or part of the market value of the residences of spouses of military members who are killed in action.
Proposition 2 — Eliminates a requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund. Neither is in operation, with the State Medical Education Board having been defunct for more than a quarter-century.
Proposition 3 — Extends the tax exemption period on storing aircraft parts in the state and would provide more tax relief to aerospace manufacturers, which often hold such parts in inventory for an extended period of time.
Proposition 4 — Authorizes the Legislature to give a partial property tax exemption on charity-donated residences to disabled veterans or their surviving spouses. The amendment would strike the current requirement that qualifying residents be “100 percent” disabled.
Proposition 5 — Allows homeowners age 62 or older to use reverse mortgages to purchase residences. The current law only expressly allows traditional mortgages, which lets such homeowners borrow against the equity of their homes. The amendment would allow the prospective borrower to use a Federal Housing Administration-insured home equity conversion mortgage to help buy a new home.
Proposition 6 — Creates two funds to help finance key projects in the state water plan by pulling about $2 billion from the Texas Economic Stabilization (or rainy day) Fund. The amendment has been opposed by conservatives who have argued that pulling money from the rainy day fund would endanger Texas’ economic health.
Proposition 7 — Authorizes home-rule municipalities to choose how to fill city council vacancies if the positions have less than 12 months remaining in a three- or four-year term. The amendment would remove the requirement to hold a mandatory special election for those positions.
Proposition 8 — Repeals a constitutional provision authorizing the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.
Proposition 9 — Authorizes the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to use additional disciplinary actions — including public admonition, warning, reprimand, or required additional training or education — against judges or justices after a hearing. The current law allows the commission to issue a public censure or recommend a judge’s removal or retirement.
By Elizabeth Koh