A Guide to the 2011 Constitutional Amendments
Part 1 of 2, Covering Propositions 1-5
Austin, Texas—Our state's constitution is one of the lengthiest in the nation. Dating back to 1876, all of the state's operations rely upon this important document. In the 2011 Regular Session, the 82nd Texas Legislature passed 10 joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution. These proposed amendments will be offered for approval by Texas voters on the November 8 election ballot.
From the adoption of the current Texas Constitution in 1876 to present, the legislature has sent 643 proposed amendments to Texas voters, of which 467 have been approved and 176 have been defeated.
New amendments are typically proposed every session. Our constitution was designed to be very restrictive, a condition that necessitates continual modification to ensure all necessary constitutional authority accompanies changes to state law. Innovation and advancement in business and technology over the last 131 years further explains why the Texas Constitution has so often been revised.
"On November 8, Texas voters will have the opportunity to vote for or against each of the ten proposed constitutional amendments approved by the 82nd Texas Legislature," Senator Hegar said. "I strongly encourage every Texas voter to take the time to review the amendments and go vote. Casting your ballot is a vital part of ensuring your views are represented in the operations of your state government."
Below please find a brief summary for each of the first five proposed constitutional amendments. Descriptions of the other five proposed constitutional amendments will follow in a later column.
Proposition 1: Senate Joint Resolution 14
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 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.
Proposition 2: Senate Joint Resolution 4
The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding.
Proposition 3: Senate Joint Resolution 50
The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds of the State of Texas to finance educational loans to students.
Proposition 4: House Joint Resolution 63
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area. The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates.
Proposition 5: Senate Joint Resolution 26
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to allow cities or counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities or counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund.
Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming land that has been in his family since the mid 1800's. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.