Senator Bob Deuell

October 28, 2011


Early voting on constitutional amendments began this week

AUSTIN — This week marked the beginning of early voting for 10 proposed constitutional amendments. Though election day isn't until Tuesday, November 8, you may vote early until Friday, November 4 to avoid long lines and other potential conflicts on election day.

I have included a separate document from the Texas Legislative Council that provides an in-depth analysis of the amendments that will appear on your ballot, as well as a brief overview below:

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 (S.J.R 14)

This constitutional amendment would grant a property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2 (S.J.R 4)

This constitutional amendment would increase the ability of the Texas Water Development Board to upgrade critical planning and infrastructure projects by allowing it to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $6 billion.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 (S.J.R 50)

This constitutional amendment would allow the legislature to authorize the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue and sell general obligation bonds for the purpose of financing student loans.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 4 (S.J.R 63)

This amendment would authorize the legislature to permit counties to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an underdeveloped area, and pay for those bonds by increasing county taxes. Cities already have this ability, and extending it to counties will allow them to improve blighted areas without the risk of a constitutional challenge.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (S.J.R 26)

This amendment would allow cities and counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities and counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund. This ability would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of consolidating long-term projects and services.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 6 (S.J.R 109)

This amendment would clarify references to the permanent school fund, allow the General Land Office to distribute revenue from the permanent school fund land or other properties to the available school fund to provide additional funding for public education, and provide for an increase in the market value of the permanent school fund for the purpose of allowing increased distributions from the available school fund.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 7 (S.J.R 28)

This amendment permits conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities. S.J.R. 28 does not raise taxes, but rather provides an opportunity for county voters to decide whether bonds should be allowed to be issued and be payable from property taxes.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 8 (S.J.R 16)

This amendment would provide for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 9 (S.J.R 9)

This amendment would authorize the governor to grant a pardon to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision. Current law allows the governor to pardon a person who is convicted of a violent crime, but not a person charged with a nonviolent crime who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 10 (S.J.R 37)

This amendment would change the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain elected county or district officeholder if they become candidates for another office. Under current law, certain officeholders who file to run for a different office must resign their current position if more than a year remains in their current term. Because the filing deadline was recently pushed back by one month, this provision creates a number of unintended consequences that this amendment would prevent by lengthening the allowable remaining term to one year and 30 days.

To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process or if you have a suggestion for a future Capitol Update, please contact the Capitol office at (512) 463-0102 or send mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is and Sen. Deuell's e-mail address is:

ATTACHMENT: Condensed Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments (PDF)