About Proposition 1: Texas Constitutional Amendments

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This post is from Burnt Orange Report's coverage of the 2009 Constitutional Amendment election. For coverage of the 2011 Constitutional Amendment election, CLICK HERE.

Early voting starts today for the Constitutional Amendments election. Turnout in this election will likely be abysmally low, and most voters who do show up won't necessarily know what they're voting on, what it means, and why it's proposed as an amendment to our state constitution.

Today and tomorrow, Burnt Orange Report will be providing some information about the 11 propositions on the ballot. Composed of non-partisan, partisan, and editorial board endorsements, our aim is to give a broad sense of how different Texas entities perceive these amendments. In the tables below, we've compiled their yea, nay, or no-endorse, Sources are all linked at the bottom. Friday, BOR will issue our official endorsements on some or all of these amendments. So while I'm a huge fan of “vote early, vote often!” if you want to be informed, consider waiting a day or four.

Background on Constitutional Amendments: The Legislature proposes these amendments in joint resolutions in the House and Senate. They must pass each body by a two-thirds vote, and cannot be vetoed by the governor. The ballot wording of the amendment is specified in the joint resolution itself. The amendments, if approved by the majority of voters, take effect immediately following the official vote canvass, unless a later date is specified in the resolution. Examples of resolutions passed in 2007 include cancer funding, record votes in the Legislature, and property tax exemptions for work vehicles. For a truly comprehensive look at the amendments and arguments for and against them, I highly recommend the House Research Organization's voter guide (PDF). It doesn't endorse, but gives very solid background on each amendment.


Proposition 1: Authorizing Local Financing To Buy Buffer Areas Near Military Installations
“Currently, municipalities and counties do not have a method to raise the revenue needed to acquire land to provide a buffer zone or open space to prevent encroachment from development, or to fund the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of adjacent military installations.” –League of Women Voters Guide

Source: Endorsement:
Austin Chronicle: NO. “We've had quite enough of state-subsidized militarism (and the Lege didn't even bother to authorize the bonds). Let the bases rub up against the neighborhoods where they live.”
El Paso Times: YES. “Care would have to be taken to ensure that governments didn't use this power to unnecessarily raise property taxes, particularly in these tough economic times.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: YES. “Relations between a military base and its surrounding community can be love-hate, especially when high-performance jets rattle windows during takeoffs or landings. … Voter approval would give cities and counties another tool to encourage compatible land use: the ability to issue bonds and notes to buy buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to bases.”
Houston Tea Party Patriots: No Endorsement.
Sen. Kirk Watson's “Watson Wire:” YES. “I voted for [it]in the Senate”.

These posts will continue throughout today and tomorrow. Endorsements by the Burnt Orange Report staff will follow on Friday.

Sources:

League of Women Voters Guide (PDF)

Austin Chronicle Endorsements, October 16, 2009

El Paso Times, October 18, 2009

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Endorsements, October 16, 2009

Houston Tea Party Patriots, October 15, 2009

Sen. Kirk Watson's Watson Wire, October 12, 2009

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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