2017 Constitutional Amendment Voters Guide

Proposition: Amendment No. 1 (H.J.R. 21)

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 for less than the market value of the residence
homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.

Supporters Say:
Currently, a partially disabled veteran who pays part of the cost of a donated home receives no property
tax exemption on the home's taxable value, unlike a partially disabled veteran whose home has been
donated to the veteran in full. H.J.R. 21 would address this inconsistency in the law and avoid the
risk that such a veteran might lose a home designed specifically for the individual's disabilities because of
property tax bills that the veteran may not have the income to pay.

Opponents Say:
While no witnesses opposing H.J.R. 21 appeared before the legislature, the HRO analysis reports
that opponents say that the legislature should focus its efforts on reducing the property tax burden
for everyone rather than granting exemptions for a specific category of people, regardless of how
deserving, which results in higher taxes for others.

Proposition: Amendment No. 2 (S.J.R. 60)

The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged
to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan,
establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options
for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a
home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.

Supporters Say:
The amendment represents a consensus of the concerns of Realtor and lender associations, which
include addressing limited access to home equity loans in rural areas, significantly increased costs at
the time of origination, and high population growth from outside Texas that has created increased real
estate activity.

Opponents Say:
S.J.R. 60 would erase constitutional protections for homeowners that were very carefully negotiated
when home equity loans were first authorized. There are no significant issues with obtaining
home equity loans in Texas under current law. The amendment would only make costs more onerous
to borrowers.

Proposition: Amendment No. 3 (S.J.R. 34)

The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the
governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person's term of office.

Supporters Say:
S.J.R. 34 would address concerns that unpaid gubernatorial appointees on state boards and
commissions hold over in office long after expiration of the appointees' terms and would
ensure that unpaid volunteer positions are sufficiently rotated among qualified Texans.

Opponents Say:
S.J.R. 34 could result in unfilled vacancies in important state offices if successors are not
duly qualified by the deadline proposed by the amendment. The existing constitutional provision
providing for the continued service of officers until their successors are duly qualified affords the Office
of the Governor flexibility in finding qualified replacements for appointive offices.

Proposition: Amendment No. 4 (S.J.R. 6)

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide
notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and
authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a
judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.

Supporters Say:
The proposed amendment would ensure that Texas laws could not be struck down through a
constitutional challenge without the attorney general having a fair opportunity to defend the laws.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals determined in 2013 that it was an unconstitutional violation
of the separation of powers for a court to have to notify the attorney general that the constitutionality
of a state statute is being challenged.

Opponents Say:
The constitutional amendment proposed by S.J.R. 6 may create confusion regarding the attorney general's
role in criminal cases by requiring notice to be provided to the attorney general in such cases. Under
current law, the attorney general is not authorized to represent the state in criminal cases, subject to
certain exceptions. Requiring notice to be provided serves little purpose unless the prosecutor requests the
attorney general's assistance in a pending case.

Proposition: Amendment No. 5 (H.J.R. 100)

The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting
charitable raffles.

Supporters Say:
By expanding the number of professional sports team charitable foundations eligible to hold charitable
raffles at home games, H.J.R. 100 would provide opportunities for charitable revenue to be brought to
more areas of the state, such as rural and suburban communities. Charitable raffles help disadvantaged
youth across Texas and also have the potential to help nonprofit and other charitable organizations that
have programming geared toward helping cancer research and victims of domestic abuse.

Opponents Say:
The existing constitutional limitation that allows only foundations in operation on January 1, 2016,
to operate charitable raffles was established to protect against the creation of new entities solely
to take advantage of charitable raffles. H.J.R. 100 would expand gambling in Texas by encouraging
less well-established professional sports teams to set up charitable foundations to conduct raffles
and may prompt other groups to seek similar authorization to conduct charitable gaming.

Proposition: Amendment No. 6 (S.J.R. 1)

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 first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.

Supporters Say:
S.J.R. 1 would help ensure that families of fallen first responders, who have already suffered
devastating loss in service to their communities, do not face the loss of their home because of the
property tax burden, particularly following the death of a first responder who is likely to have been
a breadwinner for the family.

Opponents Say:
While no witnesses opposing S.J.R. 1 appeared before the legislature, the HRO analysis reports
that opponents say that the legislature should focus its efforts on reducing the property tax burden
for everyone rather than granting exemptions for a specific category of people, regardless of how
deserving, which results in higher taxes for others.

Proposition: Amendment No. 7 (H.J.R. 37)

The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions
and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.

Supporters Say:
Savings incentives such as savings promotion raffles offering cash prizes to savers are needed in Texas
because more than one-third of Texas households lack a savings account, and about half do not have
a three-month emergency fund. H.J.R. 37 would provide an incentive for individuals, including
low-income individuals, to open savings accounts with banks and credit unions instead of relying on
more expensive alternative financial services such as consumer loans or on payday lenders and title
lenders for which fewer regulations exist.

Opponents Say:
H.J.R. 37 would provide unfair favoritism to traditional financial institutions by authorizing
the only noncharitable raffle allowed in Texas for the benefit of only one industry. The amendment
is not necessary under the Texas Constitution, which only prohibits lotteries that require a form
of payment or consideration.