TEXAS (Nexstar)- On November 2, voters across the state will take to the polls to vote on eight statewide ballot measures.
Earlier this year, the Texas State Legislature referred eight constitutional amendments to the ballot related to designated essential caregivers at nursing facilities, limitations on religious services, property taxes, the state judiciary, rodeo raffles, and county authorization to issue bonds for infrastructure. Now, it’s up to voters to decide whether these proposed amendments pass.
Proposition 1: Gambling
Authorizes professional sports team charitable organizations to conduct raffles at rodeo venues.
Under current law, only professional sports team charitable foundations can conduct raffles. Since these raffles have proved to play an integral role in generating revenue for foundations, Proposition 1 seeks to expand the law to include rodeo charitable foundations as well.
Proposition 2: Bond issues
Authorizes a county to issue bonds to fund infrastructure and transportation projects in undeveloped and blighted areas.
Proposition 2 finances itself without increasing taxes by capturing the natural property tax increases created by building expressways near communities.
Proposition 3: Religion
Amends the Texas Constitution to prohibit the state or any political subdivision from enacting a law, rule, order, or proclamation that limits religious services or organizations.
The resolution was authored in response to the restrictions put in place at the start of the pandemic, such as last March’s stay-at-home order and capacity limits on businesses.
Proposition 4: State judiciary
Changes the eligibility requirements for the following judicial offices: a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.
Proposition 4, a product of the work done by the Judicial Selection Commission during the interim session, would revise certain judicial officers’ eligibility requirements. While the commission did not propose a method of changing the judicial selection process, its members unanimously agreed that judicial qualifications should be increased.
Proposition 5: State judiciary
Authorizes the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to accept and investigate complaints and reports against candidates running for state judicial office.
Currently, only incumbents are susceptible to SCJC investigations.
Proposition 6: Healthcare and Constitutional rights
Amends the Texas Constitution to state that residents of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, or state-supported living centers have a right to designate an essential caregiver that may not be prohibited from visiting the resident.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors were barred from entering nursing homes and assisted living centers. While the intent was to reduce the risk from the virus, legislators say blocking visitors hurt the mental well being of the residents inside.
Proposition 7: Taxes
Amends the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to extend a homestead tax limit for surviving spouses of disabled individuals if the spouse is 55 years old and resides at the home.
The bill’s exact fiscal impact is unknown at this time because the number of qualifying spouses is unknown. However, state costs could slightly increase to make up for the decrease in property tax dollars allocated to schools.
Proposition 8: Taxes and Veterans
Amends the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to apply a homestead exemption for surviving spouses of members of the military to those killed in the line of duty.
According to the bill’s analysis, SJR 35 should not have a significant impact on property taxes since the bill applies to fewer than 10 spouses in a given year.
Since 1876, when the current constitution was adopted, it has been amended 507 times. In November 2019, voters approved nine out of the 10 constitutional amendments that were on the ballot.
At the local level, counties across the Basin have an array of items on the ballot. Here are a few of those:
Running to fill the “At Large” position for the Midland City Council are J. Dan Corrales, Dustin Johnson, Robin Poole, Michael Trost, and Spencer Robnett.
Running for District 1 are A. Scott Dufford and Ross A. Schumann.
Midland County also has a measure on the ballot. Proposition A would create the Midland County Assistance District No. 1 and the imposition of a sales and use tax at the rate of 1.25% for the purpose of financing operations of the district.
Greenwood ISD has a $140,000,000 bond proposition on the ballot. If approved, the district would use the funding for construction, renovation, acquisition, and equipment of school facilities. This is a property tax increase.
Crane has a measure on the ballot that, if passed, would create an Emergency Service District. This would provide emergency medical and fire services for the district.
Glasscock ISD has a $10,000,000 bond on the ballot for renovating and equipping school buildings. This is a property tax increase.
The City of Big Spring has 21 measures on the ballot that would amend the existing City Charter.
One notable proposition is Prop R, which would revise the recall process for elected council members. In November of 2020, recalls were issued for two council members as well as for Mayor Shannon Thomason, who was not recalled and allowed to keep his position.
Presidio County voters will consider legalizing gambling on horse races within the county.
Referendum A would allow remote gamblers to bet against simulcast races while Referendum B would allow gamblers within the county to bet in-person on the races. Should the measures pass, a group of investors say they will build a new horse racing track in Presidio. Presidio Desert Downs would be one of only five horse racing tracks in the state.
Polls will close at 7:00 p.m. November 2 and voters are required to bring proof of identification to cast a vote.