The Texas Constitution is one of the longest in the nation at an estimated 86,936 words. It is changed through amendments which are proposed by the Texas Legislature and accepted or rejected by the voters. Since the current Texas Constitution was adopted in 1876, 491 amendments have been passed. Next month, voters will get yet another opportunity to decide on changes to Texas’ supreme legal document.
Proposed constitutional amendments are voted on in the November election after each legislative session. This year the election date will be November 7, 2017. Early voting takes place from Monday, October 23, 2017 – Friday, November 03, 2017. There are 7 proposed constitutional amendments. The ballot language and short explanation of each are below:
What will be on the ballot: “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.”
What it means: It would authorize property tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans or their surviving spouses — those whose homes were donated to them by charity for less than market value.
What will be on the ballot: “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 for home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.”
What it means: This would ease restrictions on borrowing against home equity in Texas.
What will be on the ballot: “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.”
What it means: Unsalaried appointees whose terms have ended but who have not been replaced would serve only until the next legislative session has ended.
What will be on the ballot: “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.”
What it means: This would require courts to notify the state attorney general of any constitutional challenges to state laws.
What will be on the ballot: “The constitutional amendment on professional sports teams’ charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.”
What it means: It would expand the definition of a “professional sports team,” giving more team-connected foundations the ability to hold charitable raffles.
What will be on the ballot: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”
What it means: This would give property tax exemptions to surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.
What will be on the ballot: “The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.”
What it means: It would allow banks and other financial institutions to conduct promotional activities — such as raffles — to encourage savings.