(ROCKWALL, TX — October 17, 2019) Early voting for the Nov. 5 election begins next Monday, Oct. 21 and runs through Nov. 1., Monday through Friday. The polls will be open on Election Day (Nov. 5) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Here’s a look at the state level propositions on the ballot and what they mean.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.”
Meaning: Elected municipal court judges would be able to serve multiple municipalities at the same time. Currently, only appointed municipal court judges can do so. Municipal court judges preside over pre-trial hearings, small claims and misdemeanor cases.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.”
Meaning: The Texas Water Development Board would be allowed to issue bonds up to $200 million for water and wastewater service projects in economically distressed areas with the following characteristics (according to twdb.texas.gov):
- Median household income less than 75% of the median state household income
- Present facilities are inadequate to meet residents’ minimal needs
- Financial resources are inadequate to provide water supply or sewer services to satisfy minimal needs
- The area was an established residential subdivision as of June 1, 2005
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.”
Meaning: The legislature would be allowed to provide temporary property tax exemptions for those who had property damaged within a government-declared disaster area. The legislature would be allowed to pass laws on eligibility, duration and the write-off amounts for the exemptions.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.”
Meaning: The ballot language here is sort of tricky — a vote in favor of this proposition means a vote against the Texas Legislature imposing a personal income tax. It means that in order for future lawmakers to ever pass an income tax, there would have to be support from two-thirds of the House and the Senate, plus a majority of voters in Texas. The state does not currently have a tax on personal income, and the Texas Constitution only allows one to be imposed if approved by voters.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”
Meaning: This would appropriate all sporting goods tax revenue to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission, to help protect public parks and historic sites. Since 1993, only a portion of sporting goods tax revenue was being used to fund the TPWD and THC.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.”
Meaning: This would double the amount of general obligation bonds that the Texas Public Finance Authority can sell on behalf of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.”
Meaning: This proposition aims to boost state funding for public schools by allowing the General Land Office and the State Board of Education to double the maximum amount of funding they can provide each year to the Available School Fund (up to $600 million for both entities).
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.”
Meaning: It would create a flood infrastructure fund to be used by the Texas Water Development Board to finance projects such as draining and flood control after a disaster.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.”
Meaning: The measure would exempt precious metal depositories from paying property taxes on precious metals, such as gold or silver.
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.”
Meaning: When a law enforcement animal retires, this measure allows its handler or a qualified caretaker to keep the animal without an adoption fee. Law enforcement animals are currently considered as surplus property of the county, which means the county can only auction, donate, or destroy them.
Blue Ribbon News staff report.
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