2019 Constitutional Amendment Voters Guide

Election Day November 5, 2019

Proposition 1 (HJR 72)


Provides Smaller Municipalities with Qualified Judges


Authorizes a person to hold more than one office as an elected or appointed municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time.


If Approved:


Adds municipal judges to the class of officeholders that are exempt from the constitutional prohibition of a person from holding more than one paid public office at the same time. Texas law already permits a person to be appointed as a municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time. This amendment extends this treatment to allow a person to be elected as a municipal judge in more than one municipality.


Supporters say: This amendment will make it easier 4 smaller municipalities to have qualified municipal judges to deal with increasing caseloads.


Opponents say: No concerns identified.


 


Proposition 2 (SJR 79)


Funds water supply development in economically distressed areas


Authorizes the Texas Water Development Board to issue bonds to provide for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas of Texas.


If Approved:


Authorizes the Texas Water Development Board to issue up to $200 million in bonds for the Economically Distressed Areas Program account. The bonds would be used to provide financial assistance for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas of the state.


Supporters say: This would support future projects for communities in Texas that could not otherwise afford secure access to safe water.


Opponents say: Texas should not Constitutionally dedicate funds for specific programs and any necessary infrastructure improvements should be funded using general revenue.


 


Proposition 3 (HJR34)


Supports Property Owners Affected by a Disaster


Authorizes the legislature to create a temporary property tax exemption that a political  subdivision could adopt for property owners in a gubernatorially declared disaster area.


If Approved:


Authorizes the Legislature to provide for a temporary ad-valorem taxation exemption for property located in a Governor-declared disaster area. The legislature could prescribe the method of determining the amount and duration of the exemption, as well as any additional eligibility requirements.


Supporters say: The exemption would be easier and more affordable for taxing units than the Current method of reappraising property following a disaster.


Opponents say: This amendment would not go far enough in providing property tax relief to taxpayers following a disaster.


 


Proposition 4 (HJR 38)


Bans a State Income Tax


Prohibits the Legislature from imposing an individual income tax on Texas residents.


If Approved:


Prohibits the Legislature from imposing a net income tax on individuals, including on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.


Supporters say: This amendment would keep the Texas economy strong by making certain that the state never could impose a state individual Income Tax.


Opponents say: This amendment would rule out the possibility of introducing a tax that could provide a solution to future funding problems.


 


Proposition 5 (SJR 24)


Supports Texas Parks and Historic Sites


Provides for the automatic allocation of revenue from collection of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.


If Approved:


Automatically appropriates the sporting goods sales tax to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The Legislature would maintain the power to determine the specific uses of the funds and their allocation between TPWD, THC, and large county and municipal parks.


Supporters say: SJ R 24 provides for a predictable and sustained funding stream for state park construction, operations, and customer demands, while also protecting our valued historic treasures.


Opponents say: Dedicating revenues from the sporting goods sales tax would give appropriators less flexibility in finding funding streams for future state programs.


 


Proposition 6 (HJR 12)


Continues State Support for Cancer Research


Increases Bonding Authority of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).


If Approved:


Increases from $3 billion to $6 Billion  the maximum amount of general obligation bonds that Texas can issue on behalf of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Reauthorizes funding and continues taxpayer support of CPRIT and maintains the agency's current level of activity and Texas' support of cancer research and prevention


Supporters say: Funding CPRIT is an investment into the state economy and worthy of state dollars. Annual grant funding under CPRIT has supported world renowned scholars, including a 2018 Nobel Prize recipient and helped make Texas a biomedical center.


Opponents say: This amendment would increase state debt by doubling the size of the original CPRIT bond package.


 


Proposition 7 (HJR 151)


Increases Distributions to the Available School Fund


Doubles the annual distribution to the Available School Fund for school districts to purchase instructional materials and meet other funding needs.


If Approved:


Increases From $300 million to $600 million the amount that can be distributed 10 the Available School Fund each year in revenue derived during that year from the more than 13 million acres of land or properties managed by the General Land office.


Supporters say: By raising the cap on this annual distribution, this revenue will improve funding for public schools.


Opponents say: This could complicate the funding relationship of the School Land Board and the State Board of Education, each of which have responsibilities for managing this land.


 


Proposition 8 (HJR 4)


Funds Flood Mitigation Projects


Creates the Flood Infrastructure Fund to provide financing for certain drainage, flood mitigation, or flood control projects in Texas.


If Approved:


Creates the Flood Infrastructure Fund as a special fund in the State Treasury outside of the general revenue fund. The fund would be administered by the Texas Water Development Board to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects, including planning and design activities, work to obtain related regulatory approval, or construction of flood mitigation and drainage infrastructure.


Supporters say: This amendment would help create a more resilient Texas by providing a mechanism to protect from future disasters.


Opponents say: By creating the Flood infrastructure Fund as a special fund outside of general revenue, this would give appropriators less flexibility in finding funding streams for future state programs.


 


Proposition 9 (HJR 95)


Tax Exemption for Precious Metals


Authorizes the Legislature to exempt precious metals held a precious depository in Texas from property taxation.


If Approved:


Authorizes the legislature by general law to exempt from property taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository in the state. The legislature by general law could define "precious metal" and "precious metal depository " for purposes of this exemption. Texas already exempts certain precious metals from the sales and use tax, and this constitutional amendment extends this treatment to property tax.


Supporters say: This exemption would enable Texas depositories to be more competitive with other states that offer these exemptions and provide certainty to account holders and investors of such, precious metals.


Opponents say: This could be perceived as allowing the government to pick winners and losers in the economy by using the state tax system to encourage people to purchase and hold precious metals in depositories in the state.


 


Proposition 10 (SJR 32)


Protects Law Enforcement Animals


Authorizes the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.


If Approved:


Currently, a county animal used for law enforcement purposes is treated as salvage or surplus property and counties can only auction, donate, or destroy salvage or surplus property. This constitutional amendment authorizes the county law enforcement animal to be transferred to the animal's handler at the time or the animal's retirement or at another time if the transfer is in the animal's best interest.


Supporters say: This amendment honors the bond between a law enforcement animal and its handler by allowing these animals to retire in the homes where they live.


Opponents say: No concerns identified.