Important Information: Constitutional Amendment Election

20 October 2017

Constitutional Amendment Election Information

I encourage you to read through the list of propositions below and the brief descriptions of the arguments for and against each proposed change to the Texas Constitution. While some of the proposals may seem minor, this election will have a lasting impact on the lives of Texans.
Let your voice be heard in shaping Texas’s future!
PROPOSITION 1: Homestead exemption for partially donated homes of disabled veterans
The Constitution currently allows a partial property tax exemption for a partially-disabled veteran if the homestead was donated to the veteran by a charity. Prop 1 would extend the exemption even if the veteran had to pay part of the expense, for example, half the cost of the home.
  • Supporters say disabled veterans deserve breaks.
  • Opponents urge focus on reducing property taxes for everyone rather than exempting specific categories of people, regardless of how deserving, and creating higher taxes for others.
PROPOSITION 2: Revising home equity loan provisions
Home equity lending in Texas is governed by the Constitution. Prop 2 would lower the cap on fees that can be charged when making a home equity loan (from 3% to 2%), allow refinancing of home equity loans into non-home equity loans, revise a provision governing home equity lines of credit, and add to the list of types of approved lenders.
  • Supporters say it will make it easier and more affordable to get an equity loan.
  • Opponents say Prop 2 could raise costs for borrowers and decrease borrower protections.
PROPOSITION 3: Limiting terms for certain appointees of the Governor
Members of most boards and commissions appointed by the Governor serve 6-year terms, but the Constitution currently requires appointees to serve until their successors are in office. Prop 3 would set a last day for certain appointees even if their successors are not yet in office.
  • Supporters say it will keep Governor appointees from staying in office long after their terms expire.
  • Opponents say it could leave too many vacancies.
PROPOSITION 4: Court notice to Attorney General of constitutional challenge to State laws
Prop 4 would require courts to notify the Attorney General in advance whenever the constitutionality of a state law is challenged in court.
  • Supporters say this ensures that the state has an opportunity to defend against constitutional challenges to Texas law.
  • Opponents say Prop. 4 will create longer wait times in constitutional court cases, prolong justice for Texans, and interfere with the state’s separation of powers.
PROPOSITION 5: Amending eligibility requirements for sports team charitable raffles
In 2015, Texans approved a constitutional amendment to allow charitable raffles by the 10 major league sports franchises in Texas that had charitable foundations. Prop 5 would expand the allowed charitable raffles to WNBA, Minor League Baseball, National Women’s Soccer League, NASCAR, PGA, and other professional sports teams defined by law.
  • Supporters say Prop. 5 would increase cash flow to nonprofit charities, especially in rural areas.
  • Opponents fear this would expand a form of gambling and encourage other sports and non-sports groups to seek eligibility to hold raffles as well.
PROPOSITION 6: Homestead exemption for surviving spouses of certain first responders
The Constitution currently allows a property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces who was killed in action. Prop 6 would extend a partial or total exemption to the surviving spouse of a first responder who was killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.
  • Supporters say Prop. 6 would ensure families of fallen first responders, who have already suffered devastating loss, are not forced out of their homes by property taxes.
  • Opponents urge focus on reducing property taxes for everyone rather than exempting specific categories of people, regardless of how deserving, and creating higher taxes for others.
PROPOSITION 7: Authorizing Legislature to allow banks to hold raffles promoting savings
Prop 7 would allow credit unions and other financial institutions to award cash prizes by lottery-style selection as a promotional activity to encourage savings.
  • Supporters value the incentives for personal savings.
  • Opponents say this would be a special class for the only non-charitable raffle in the state.

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