AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some of the legislation passed earlier this year by state lawmakers will require making additions to the Texas Constitution, so voters will ultimately go to the polls later this year to decide whether those will take effect.
In total, people will see 14 proposed constitutional amendments appear on their ballot during the Nov. 7 election. They range in impact from the broadest statewide level to those affecting just certain counties. However, every Texas voter will have a chance to weigh in soon.
Here’s a list of those 14 constitutional amendments and the order in which they’ll appear on the ballot:
House Joint Resolution 126 will appear first when voters take a look at their ballot after a drawing Friday morning at the Texas Secretary of State’s office placed it in the top spot. It proposes a constitutional amendment “protecting the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.”
Senate Joint Resolution 64 proposes an amendment “authorizing a local option exemption from ad valorem taxation by a county or municipality of all or part of the appraised value of real property used to operate a child-care facility.”
House Joint Resolution 132 will ask Texas voters if they’d like to add an amendment “prohibiting the imposition of an individual wealth or net worth tax, including a tax on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family.”
House Joint Resolution 2, approved during the second special legislative session, corresponds to the deal struck by state lawmakers to lower property taxes in Texas.
It will read like this: “The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to establish a temporary limit on the maximum appraised value of real property other than a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes; to increase the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation by a school district applicable to residence homesteads from $40,000 to $100,000; to adjust the amount of the limitation on school district ad valorem taxes imposed on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect increases in certain exemption amounts; to except certain appropriations to pay for ad valorem tax relief from the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations; and to authorize the legislature to provide for a four-year term of office for a member of the board of directors of certain appraisal districts.”
House Joint Resolution 3 pertains to amending the Texas Constitution “relating to the Texas University Fund, which provides funding to certain institutions of higher education to achieve national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy.”
Senate Joint Resolution 75 puts forward a constitutional amendment “creating the Texas water fund to assist in financing water projects in this state.”
Senate Joint Resolution 93 is a proposal “providing for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.”
House Joint Resolution 125 would amend the Texas Constitution “creating the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects.”
House Joint Resolution 2, approved during the regular legislative session, puts forward an amendment “authorizing the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.”
Senate Joint Resolution 87 would create an amendment to “authorize the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation equipment or inventory held by a manufacturer of medical or biomedical products to protect the Texas healthcare network and strengthen our medical supply chain.”
Senate Joint Resolution 32 proposes an amendment “authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.”
House Joint Resolution 134 is perhaps the most narrowly focused and localized of all the proposed amendments. If approved, it would “abolish the office of county treasurer of Galveston County.”
House Joint Resolution 107 would amend the Texas Constitution to “increase the mandatory age of retirement for state justices and judges.“
According to the legislation, every Supreme Court justice and judge in the state shall vacate their office “on the expiration of the term during which the incumbent reaches the age of 79 years or such earlier age, not less than 75.”
Senate Joint Resolution 74 is a proposed amendment “providing for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks.”
History of constitutional amendments
The number of amendments to the Texas Constitution makes it one of the longest in the country. Before this regular session, since adoption in 1876, the legislature has proposed 700 amendments to the state constitution. Of those, 517 have been adopted, which is a 73.8% success rate.
Because of that history, political experts said there’s a good chance voters will approve every one of these amendments later this year.
An example — or perhaps a quirk — of the way Texas government works is that the Texas Secretary of State’s office draws lots to determine how all of the constitutional amendments appear on the ballot.
The order an item appears on a ballot could determine how many voters remember to cast their choice, or just turn in their ballot unfinished. It’s a phenomenon researchers have previously documented. Candidates typically listed at the top of a ballot earn a greater share of the vote than they would receive in other positions.