When Texans go to cast their ballot this year, they will find seven statewide propositions that, if passed, would change the language of the constitution. Here at Burnt Orange Report, we’re committed to providing analysis through a progressive lens of those issues that could impact Texans, including these proposed amendments to the constitution. We have already taken an in depth look at Proposition 1 – which would reduce property taxes – and Proposition 2 – which would look out for the spouses of deceased disabled veterans.
Some of the propositions are more straightforward. Today, we’re looking at statewide propositions 3 – 6.
Proposition 3 will appear on your ballot as the following:
The constitutional amendment repealing the requirement that state officers elected by voters statewide reside in the state capital.
The Texas constitution currently requires certain statewide elected officials to live in Austin while they are in office. While the provision was originally intended to address the challenges of governing the state in a time without communications technology or reliable, fast transportation, bringing the constitution into the 21st century wasn’t the real motivation for this amendment.
As Progress Texas points out in their voter guide, the amendment was proposed as an attempt to allow statewide office holders who find themselves the subject of an investigation, such as Attorney General Ken Paxton, it can be conducted by a friendly District Attorney from their community instead of officials in Travis County. Though the amendment is no longer necessary to create this safeguard for statewide officials, it passed the legislature and will be on the ballot.
Proposition 4 will read like this on your ballot:
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.
Professional sports teams in Texas are currently allowed to hold “50/50” charity raffles at two home games per season. These raffles help the teams to raise money both for a specific nonprofit or charity, which must receive at least 40% of the donations, according to KUT, and for their own foundations, which they then use to invest in the community.
Officials representing both the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers lobbied to get the measure on the ballot this year. Joe Januszewski,an executive vice president of the Texas Rangers, told KUT that their foundation “…has given over $14 million to youth programs throughout the great state of Texas,” since it was created over two decades ago.
The teams are asking voters to allow them to hold these charitable raffles at any, or all, of their home games in a given season.
Here’s the ballot language for Proposition 5:
The constitutional amendment to authorize counties with a population of 7,500 or less to perform private road construction and maintenance.
This is a truly targeted proposition in that it will only impact 20 out of the 254 counties in the state. It would expand a previous amendment to the constitution from 1980, when voters chose to allow rural counties to build and maintain private roads due to the lack of private contractors available to the community. The cap from the previous amendment is 5,000 people.
As reported by KUT, this proposition will have an especially large impact on one county in particular, where the addition of a prison put them over the cap.
If passed, this would amend the provision would expand that cap to 7,500 people.
The ballot language for Proposition 6, arguably the least relevant proposition on the ballot this year, will read:
The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.
That’s right folks – a vote for Proposition 6 is a vote to enshrine the right of Texans to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in the state’s constitution. While this may seem completely unnecessary in the current political climate in Texas, KUT spoke to Representative Trent Ashby, a co-author of the measure in the legislature, who painted the amendment as a way to guard against potential future threats to these rights in Texas.
This proposition, like so many of the policies pushed by conservatives, is a solution looking for a problem while also giving Republicans something to campaign on as stewards of traditional values. In this case, the right to hunt.
Texans can vote early from October 19th through the 30th. Locations and hours vary by county, so voters should contact their county’s elections division for more information on when and where they can vote. Election Day is November 3rd.
Questions about what you need to be able to vote? Visit the Secretary of State’s website here for more information.