According to the Legislative Reference Library, Texas voters have approved 498 amendments to the state Constitution since its adoption in 1876. On Tuesday, November 5th, the residents of Texas can vote on ten proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. The ten amendments were introduced by legislators in the 86th Legislative Session. Over the next few weeks we will review each proposed amendment and this week we will review the first three propositions.

Proposition 1: Allowing municipal court judges to hold office in more than one municipality. The wording on the ballot will be: “The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.” To summarize, this proposition would amend Texas Constitution Art. 3 to allow a person to hold office as municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time, regardless of whether the person was elected or appointed to each office.

Proposition 2: Allowing the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to issue more water development project bonds. The wording on the ballot will be: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.” This proposition would allow the TWDB to issue additional general obligation bonds for the Economically Distressed Areas Program account. The bonds would be used to provide financial assistance for developing water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas of the state. TWDB could issue the bonds in amounts such that the aggregate principal amount of the bonds issued under the amended section that were outstanding at any time did not exceed $200 million.

Proposition 3: Allowing temporary property tax exemptions after a disaster. The wording on the ballot will be: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.” Under the proposition and its enabling legislation, property owners would be entitled to a temporary exemption after a disaster if it occurred before the local tax rate was set. If the disaster occurred after rates were set, local governments would have the option to allow the exemption.

To make well-informed votes, we must educate ourselves on the changes proposed. For more information on these propositions, please visit Constitutional amendments proposed for November 2019 ballot. This site includes more details and specifics on each amendment. You have access to the arguments for and against each amendment on the website, as well.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672