This post is this board’s first endorsement of the political season, albeit a somewhat mundane one. Please note that the omission of Proposition 6 is not, in any way, a clue as to this board’s position on the issue. Simply put, the Proposition is significantly more contentious than any other piece of legislation put before the voters this year, so this board decided to give it is own endorsement editorial at some point in the future.
The remaining eight State Propositions all seek to change the State’s Constitution relating to rather uncontroversial topics. That being said, many of these measures will do good things for Texas in the years to come. Once again, in brief, this board will delineate the topics, as well as why they will be beneficial.
PROP 1 (HJR 62)–YES
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action.”
This amendment would expand property tax breaks for widows and widowers of deceased servicemen/servicewomen. The measure passed with unanimous support in the legislature, and would be good for the State.
PROP 2 (HJR 79)–YES
“The constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.”
This amendment is a somewhat self-explanatory housekeeping measure. It passed with unanimous support in the legislature.
PROP 3 (HJR 133)–YES
“The constitutional amendment to authorize a political subdivision of this state to extend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for a temporary period may be located in this state for purposes of qualifying for the tax exemption.”
This amendment extends a program that provides for tax exemption to aircraft parts held in the State temporarily. Since the amendment notes “political subdivisions,” the State, County or Municipality may enact these rules theoretically. All in all, the legislature passed this unanimously, and this board see no issues therewith.
PROP 4 (HJR 24)–YES
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization.”
This amendment is actually really, really good. There have been issues recently over certain charities building or donating homes to people in need, like disabled veterans. The amendments seeks to lower or eliminate the property taxes of these disabled veterans, or there spouses, if the home was donated by a charity. It also establishes “partial disability” as a basis for the eligibility. This passed the legislature unanimously.
PROP 5 (SJR 18)–YES
“The constitutional amendment to authorize the making of a reverse mortgage loan for the purchase of homestead property and to amend lender disclosures and other requirements in connection with a reverse mortgage loan.”
This amendment allows elderly people (defined as 62 or older) to use a reverse mortgage to purchase property. It is somewhat self-explanatory and passed unanimously in the legislature. This board sees no issues.
PROP 7 (HJR 87)–YES
“The constitutional amendment authorizing a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter the procedure to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.”
This amendment is fairly straight-forwarded, although the wording fails to note that it only applies to three or four year terms. Accordingly, the City of Houston would not be affected. This board believes that amendments like this are ultimately good for the people, restoring local control to local government, instead of being plagued by inane, archaic regulations out of Austin.
PROP 8 (HJR 147)–YES
“The constitutional amendment repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.”
Much like Proposition 2, this measure is a somewhat self explanatory housekeeping addendum.
PROP 9 (SJR 42)–YES
“The constitutional amendment relating to expanding the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal proceeding instituted by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.”
This amendment allow the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to asses additional punishments against misbehaving Judges. These include additional (continuing) legal education, public admonition, reprimand and warning. The measure is good for deterring the amoral activities of Judges.
This board believes that all of these amendments will do good, ethical things for our State. When the framers created Texas’ constitution in 1875, they decided to codify a plethora of rules and regulations into the Constitution, in order to make them immune from the whims and caprices of a Legislature that met in smoke-filled rooms. Accordingly, in order to change any of these sacred rules and protections, the voters of the State needed to be consulted. And they have been, 656 times to be exact.
It is our duty, as voters in the State of Texas, to endorse or repudiate the biennial alterations to the Constitution. So far, Props 1-5 and Props 7-9 earn a vehement endorsement from this board.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz of Boston, Olivia Arena of Austin, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans.