Seven new amendments on ballot for November


Election season has arrived in El Paso and, this year, the ballot contains several new amendments to the state constitution.

Typically, amendments are voted on after a legislative session, but those elections tend to see very low voter turnout, according to election officials. This year, votes on seven of the Legislature's newest amendments have been scheduled for the November election, in the hope that these relevant issues with see larger numbers.

Here’s what all seven amendments say, and what they actually mean, so you aren’t confused when you get to the polls.

Proposition 1 talks about the Legislature providing an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of a residence for a partially disabled veteran or their family. That means- disabled veterans and their families could look for a tax exemption on purchasing a home from a charitable organization. Currently, disabled vets can obtain a tax break on a home from a charitable organization, only if the home does not cost them anything. The Texas Legislature is hoping to extend the coverage to more vets by changing the wording to include houses purchased at below market value.

Proposition 2 aims to allow homeowners easier access to the equity built up over time on any of their owned property. The state has some of the strictest requirements for homeowners to gain access to home equity loans. This amendment seeks to relax some of the requirements and make it easier for homeowners to obtain a home equity loan.

Proposition 3 is one of the more interesting ballot proposals. It seeks to set term limits on government officials appointed by the governor to an unpaid position. Currently, there are no term limits, and unpaid officials appointed by the governor of Texas could sit in their positions until that governor leaves office. This amendment would simply extend the term limit to these government officials as well, bringing them in line with many other government officials.

Proposition 4 seeks to provide notification to the state if you are going to sue them. This is the second time this amendment is on the table. This time, the amendment is a bit cleaner than the previous attempt, which was deemed unconstitutional. This amendment wants the court to give the Texas attorney general’s office 45 days’ notice before ruling on any constitutionality of state laws.

Proposition 5 concerns sports teams. This is actually an amendment to an earlier amendment already passed by voters. It seeks to expand the number of sports teams within the state that can hold charitable foundation raffles. Currently, only 10 professional sports teams in the state are able to do this. Some opponents to this amendment say it could increase gambling statewide.

Proposition 6 will provide property tax exemptions to emergency medical services and fire and police department employees. The state has tried to expand property tax exemptions in recent years.

Proposition 7 aims to allow credit unions within the state to provide promotional gifts in order to promote savings. According to the state, roughly a third of all Texas households do not have a savings account. The Legislature is hoping that the opportunity to get free gifts will encourage more residents to open an account with a financial institution.

Early voting locations in El Paso are open through Nov. 3rd. Having more information on the seven state amendments on the ballot should keep you from being confused when you step up to the ballot box.

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