Information on Proposed Constitutional Amendments
On November 8, Texans will go to the polls to vote on nine proposed constitutional amendments. I hope you will take the time to study the proposed amendments, and I have provided a short summary of each one in this update.
If you would like additional information on any of the proposed amendments, please contact one of my offices and we will be happy to provide it.
Proposition 1 would amend the Constitution to authorize the creation of the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund in the state treasury. The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) would administer this revolving fund to finance or partially fund the relocation and improvement of privately and publicly owned passenger and freight rail facilities.
Proposition 2 would amend the Texas Constitution by adding Art. 1, sec. 32 stating that marriage in Texas consists only of the union of one man and one woman. It also would prohibit the state or a political subdivision of the state from creating or recognizing any legal status that is identical or similar to marriage.
The ballot proposal reads: "The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."
Proposition 3 would amend Texas Constitution, Art. 3, sec. 52-a to stipulate that economic development grants and loans made by a local government, except those backed by ad valorem taxes or financed by bonds backed by ad valorem taxes, would not constitute debt prohibited by the constitution.
The ballot proposal reads: "The constitutional amendment clarifying that certain economic development programs do not constitute a debt."
Proposition 4 would add Art. 1, sec. 11b to the Constitution, authorizing a judge to deny bail to a person accused of a felony who already had been released on bail on that same charge. Bail could be denied if the defendant's earlier bond had been revoked or forfeited for violating a condition of that bond and the violation was related to the safety of the victim or the safety of the community. The determination of whether the violation was related to the safety of the victim or the community would be made by a district judge at a hearing.
Proposition 5 would amend the Texas Constitution, Art. 16, sec. 11 to allow the Legislature to create exemptions from the maximum rates of interest for commercial loans. A commercial loan would be considered a loan made primarily for business, commercial, investment, agricultural, or similar purposes and not primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
Proposition 6 would amend Art. 5, sec. 1-a(2) to increase the number of State Commission on Judicial Conduct members from 11 to 13. One new member would be a citizen member, appointed by the governor, and the other would be a judge of a constitutional county court, appointed by the Texas Supreme Court, both with the advise and consent of the Senate.
The number of members appointed at-large would increase from three to seven - the five citizen members, the justice of the peace, and the municipal judge. The appeals court judge, the district judge, the two State Bar attorney members, the county court-at-law judge, and the constitutional county court judge could not reside or hold a judgeship in the same court of appeals district as another commissioner. A quorum would consist of seven members, rather than six. Recommendations on retirement, censure, suspension, or removal of any justice or judge would require a vote of at least seven, not six, members.
Proposition 7 would amend Art. 16, sec. 50 of the Texas Constitution to revise the methods by which advances could be made on reverse mortgages to allow lines of credit to be used for these loans. Borrowers could receive an initial advance at any time and future advances:
- at regular intervals;
- at regular intervals in which the amounts advanced could be reduced at the request of the borrower;
- at times and in amounts requested by the borrower until the credit limit was reached; or
- in amounts requested by the borrower until the credit limit established was reached, and subsequent advances at times and in amounts requested by the borrower according to the terms established by the loan documents to the extent that the outstanding balance was repaid.
Reverse mortgages could not allow the homeowner to use a credit card, debit card, preprinted solicitation check, or similar device to obtain an advance. No transaction feescould be charged after the extension of credit in connection with any debit or advance. The lender or holder of the note could not unilaterally amend the extension of credit.
Proposition 8 would add Art. 7, sec. 2C to the Constitution to relinquish any claim of sovereign ownership or title by the state to land or mineral rights in a tract of land in Upshur County and a tract of land in Smith County. The proposition specifies the boundaries of each tract of land. It would not apply to any public right-of-way, road, navigable waterway, park, or public land owned by a governmental entity. The resolution would be self-executing.
The ballot proposal reads: "The constitutional amendment providing for the clearing of land titles by relinquishing and releasing any state claim to sovereign ownership or title to interest in certain land in Upshur County and in Smith County."
Proposition 9 would amend Art. 16, sec. 30 of the Texas Constitution to specify that the Legislature may permit RMA board members to serve staggered six-year terms with no more than one-third of the members to be appointed every two years.
The ballot proposal reads: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a six-year term for a board member of a regional mobility authority."
To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: email@example.com.