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Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot in November

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October 1, 2017

During the 85th Legislative Session, seven joint resolutions proposing constitutional amendments passed in the Texas House and Senate. These proposed amendments now go to you, the voters, for your consideration on if they should become law. The amendments will be on the election ballot on Tuesday, November 7.

Three of the proposed amendments impact homeowners. Specifically, Propositions 1 and 6 provide exemptions from property taxes for partially disabled veterans and their surviving spouses, as well as the surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Proposition 2 caps the fees that borrowers can be charged while taking out a home equity loan to 2% of the original loan amount. Additionally, Proposition 2 allows property owners to take out home equity loans on agricultural homesteads and permits homeowners to refinance their home equity loan debt as a non-home equity loan.

Propositions 3 and 4 relate to regulations on state government activities. Proposition 3 ends the requirement that individuals appointed to unpaid state positions by the governor continue to serve in that position until their successor is appointed. It instead requires that unpaid appointed officials continue their service until the last day of the legislative session after their term expires. Proposition 4 requires courts to notify the attorney general of cases in which the constitutionality of state statutes is questioned. It also provides for a period for the attorney general to defend the state law before a judgment on the case is handed down by the court.

The last two propositions expand the rights of charitable foundations and financial institutions to award prizes by raffle or lottery. In general, Texas prohibits gambling, but these two constitutional amendments provide specific exemptions that may lead to benefits for the state as a whole. Proposition 5 allows professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct raffles to raise money for charitable organizations. Proposition 7 allows credit unions and banks to award prizes to members by lottery. This is intended to promote saving and encourage financial health for Texas citizens.

I was proud to support each of these proposed constitutional amendments as they passed through the Senate during the legislative session. I hope you will voice your support or opposition to each of these propositions at the polls on November 7. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions, comments or concerns. Your input on matters before our state government is always appreciated.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments Overview

Proposition 1: Partially disabled veterans and their surviving spouses may qualify for an exemption from ad valorem taxes on their homes
Proposition 2: Home equity loans have a 2% of principal loan cap on fees, may be taken out on agricultural homesteads and may be refinanced as non-home equity loans
Proposition 3: State appointees are only required to continue their service to the state until the last day of the legislative session after their term expires
Proposition 4: Courts must notify the attorney general of cases where the constitutionality of state statutes is brought into question
Proposition 5: Professional sports team charitable foundations may conduct raffles to raise money for charity
Proposition 6: Surviving spouses of first responders killed or fatally wounded in the line of duty may qualify for an exemption from ad valorem taxes on their homes
Proposition 7: Credit unions and banks may award prizes by lottery to members to encourage saving

Each of these propositions will be on the ballot on November 7th for approval by you, the voters. You can find more information from the Legislative Reference Library at: http://tiny.cc/Props1-7.