19 September 2007 at 10:55:07 AM
In November voters will be asked to consider 16 proposed constitutional amendments. As with most special elections, this one isn't being "advertised" very much by many legislators and media.
The following is a list of the amendments with links. Thanks go to Jacci Howard Bear
, for providing the information.
It's important that voters educate themselves on these issues and to get out in force to vote.
"The constitutional amendment providing for the continuation of the constitutional appropriation for facilities and other capital items at Angelo State University on a change in the governance of the university."
Essentially, this amendment updates the constitution to reflect that Angelo State University, once a part of the Texas State University System, is now part of the Texas Tech University System.
"The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of $500 million in general obligation bonds to finance educational loans to students and authorizing bond enhancement agreements with respect to general obligation bonds issued for that purpose."
This amendment would authorize the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue up to $500 million in general obligation bonds to finance college and university student loans.
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide that the maximum appraised value of a residence homestead for ad valorem taxation is limited to the lesser of the most recent market value of the residence homestead as determined by the appraisal entity or 110 percent, or a greater percentage, of the appraised value of the residence homestead for the preceding tax year."
If approved, this amendment would make the maximum appraised value of a residence homestead for ad volorem taxation the lesser of the most recent market value, or 110 percent, or a greater percentage, of the appraised value of the homestead for the preceding tax year.
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the issuance of up to $1 billion in bonds payable from the general revenues of the state for maintenance, improvement, repair, and construction projects and for the purchase of needed equipment."
This amendment allows the Texas Public Finance Authority to issue and sell up to $1 billion in general obligation bonds for maintenance, improvement, repair, or construction projects authorized by the state agencies outlined in the amendment and for the purchase of needed equipment. Agencies include the Parks and Wildlife Department, Department of Aging and Disability Services, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Texas Historical Commission, among others.
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit the voters of a municipality having a population of less than 10,000 to authorize the governing body of the municipality to enter into an agreement with an owner of real property in or adjacent to an area in the municipality that has been approved for funding under certain programs administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture under which the parties agree that all ad valorem taxes imposed on the owner's property may not be increased for the first five tax years after the tax year in which the agreement is entered into."
The amendment aims to aid in the elimination of slum and blighted conditions in less populated communities and promote rural economic development.
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation one motor vehicle owned by an individual and used in the course of the owner's occupation or profession and also for personal activities of the owner."
An individual who uses their vehicle for both business and personal activities could be exempted from ad valorem taxation on one motor vehicle. If passed, this amendment would apply to the tax year that begins January 1, 2007.
"The constitutional amendment to allow governmental entities to sell property acquired through eminent domain back to the previous owners at the price the entities paid to acquire the property."
The purpose of this amendment is to allow the immediate previous property owner or their heirs to reacquire property taken from them through eminent domain at the price which was originally paid to them when the property was acquired by the government. This would apply in certain cases where the public use for which the property was acquired by eminent domain no longer exists or a prescribed deadline was not met.
"The constitutional amendment to clarify certain provisions relating to the making of a home equity loan and use of home equity loan proceeds."
This amendment adds clarification and more precise language to existing provisions for home equity loans. Among the changes are a provision for a second home equity loan on the same property sooner than one year after the first home equity loan in the event of a declared state of emergency, such as a natural disaster.
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt all or part of the residence homesteads of certain totally disabled veterans from ad valorem taxation and authorizing a change in the manner of determining the amount of the existing exemption from ad valorem taxation to which a disabled veteran is entitled."
With this amendment, a disabled veteran with a service-connected disability with a disability rating of 100 percent or totally disabled may be exempted from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of their residence homestead. It also adds some clarifications regarding exemptions for disabled veterans with less than 100 percent disability.
"The constitutional amendment to abolish the constitutional authority for the office of inspector of hides and animals."
This amendment cleans up the wording of the constitution to remove references to the former office of Inspector of Hides and Animals.
"The constitutional amendment to require that a record vote be taken by a house of the legislature on final passage of any bill, other than certain local bills, of a resolution proposing or ratifying a constitutional amendment, or of any other non-ceremonial resolution, and to provide for public access on the Internet to those record votes."
Except for certain votes as described in the ballot language, each house of the legislature must take a record vote on final passage of any bill and archive that record vote, making it available for viewing on the Internet for at least two years.
"The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds by the Texas Transportation Commission in an amount not to exceed $5 billion to provide funding for highway improvement projects."
If passed, proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by this amendment can be used to pay for authorized highway improvement projects, costs associated with issuing the bonds, and making payments on related credit agreements.
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the denial of bail to a person who violates certain court orders or conditions of release in a felony or family violence case."
With this amendment, any person in Texas accused of a felony or of family violence can be taken into custody and have their bail denied pending trial if they violate certain conditions related to the safety of a victim or the community, violate an order for emergency protection or an active protective order in connection with a family violence case, or engage in other conduct as outlined in the amendment.
"The constitutional amendment permitting a justice or judge who reaches the mandatory retirement age while in office to serve the remainder of the justice's or judge's current term."
If an elected state justice or judge reaches mandatory retirement age during the first four years of the 6 year term to which they were elected, the expiration of that term would be on December 31 of the fourth year of the term.
"The constitutional amendment requiring the creation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and authorizing the issuance of up to $3 billion in bonds payable from the general revenues of the state for research in Texas to find the causes of and cures for cancer."
This amendment requires that the legislature establish the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and authorize up to $3 billion in bonds. The agency would be tasked with distributing funds and providing support to institutions of learning and advanced medical research facilities for conducting scientific research into all kinds of human cancer.
"The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $250 million to provide assistance to economically distressed areas."
This amendment would benefit economically distressed areas of the state by providing them with financial assistance in creating adequate sewer and water supply services for residents.
The important thing is for people to vote!
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