FEATURED: U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa of McAllen, center, accepts a framed legislative measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 41, from Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, and Sen. Morgan LaMantia, D-South Padre, honoring the Rio Grande City native on the 40th anniversary of his “exemplary service as a judicial official.” This image was taken at McAllen City Hall on Monday, June 12, 2023.
Photograph Courtesy REP. R.D. “BOBBY GUERRA” FACEBOOK
House Research Organization provides online, unbiased, easy-to-understand explanations on the upcoming November 2023 state constitutional amendments, reports Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra
With 14 state constitutional amendments to face Texas voters later this autumn, the nonpartisan House Research Organization has published an easy-to-understand report on those measures and is available online, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, has announced.
“Focus report – Constitutional amendments proposed for the November 2023 ballot”, a 36-page publication, provides the summary, background, and pros-and-cons for each of the 14 constitutional amendments.
“Every voter should inform themselves about these proposals, which range from Proposition 4, which would increase the homestead tax exemption by raising it from $40,000 to $100,000, to establishing the Broadband Infrastructure Fund, which will increase affordable, high-speed Internet access to millions of Texans,” said Guerra.
The election will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.
Early voting takes place from Monday, October 23, 2023 through Friday, November 3, 2023.
The last day to register to vote in the Texas Constitutional Amendments election is onTuesday,October 10, 2023, and the deadline to apply for a mail ballot is Friday, October 27, 2023.
In a related matter, Futuro RGV will host a Constitutional Amendment Forum on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The forum will be live-streamed on the Futuro RGV Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/FuturoRGV/ – which also will maintain a videotape recording of the event on that same Facebook page.
Details of the scheduled speakers for the Constitutional Amendment Forum will be announced a week before the the live-stream takes place on Tuesday, October 17, 2023.
A constitutional amendment is a change to the Texas constitution. A constitutional amendment is proposed by the Texas Legislature in the form of a joint resolution that must be adopted by both the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives by a two-thirds vote and be approved by a majority of the voters to become effective.
The Texas Constitution is the fundamental governing document of the state of Texas. The Texas Constitution describes the structure and function of the government in Texas.
A joint resolution, which does not require action by the governor, is used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or request a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Before becoming effective, the provisions of joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution must be approved by the voters of Texas.
The 14 proposed state constitutional amendments are:
• Proposition 1: Establishing the right to engage in certain agricultural practices;
• Proposition 2: Authorizing property tax exemption for child-care facilities;
• Proposition 3: Prohibiting a tax on the net worth or wealth of individuals;
• Proposition 4: Authorizing the Legislature to establish certain property tax relief measures;
• Proposition 5: Establishing the Texas University Fund for emerging research universities;
• Proposition 6: Creating the Texas Water Fund for financing water projects;
• Proposition 7: Establishing the Texas Energy Fund for electric facility construction and upgrades;
• Proposition 8: Establishing the Broadband Infrastructure Fund;
• Proposition 9: Authorizing a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers;
• Proposition 10: Exempting certain property held by medical manufacturers from taxation;
• Proposition 11: Authorizing El Paso County special districts to issue bonds for parks development;
• Proposition 12: Abolishing Galveston County’s Office of County Treasurer;
• Proposition 13: Increasing the mandatory retirement age for state justices and judges; and
• Proposition 14: Creating the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund.
The report is available online at:
For more information on constitutional amendments, please visit the Legislative Reference Library of Texas website at:
The South Texas lawmaker said the publication by the House Research Organization, which went online on Friday, August 25, 2023, “is objective, which is the highest standard of that state legislative group.”
The House Research Organization (HRO) is a nonpartisan administrative department of the House Business Office within the Texas House of Representatives. It provides impartial information on legislation and issues before the Texas Legislature. The HRO is governed by a broadly representative steering committee of 15 House members elected by the House membership to set policy for the organization, approve its budget, and ensure that its reports are not biased.
Also according to the HRO’s “Focus Report – Constitutional amendments proposed for the November 2023 ballot”:
Amending the Texas Constitution
Texas voters have approved 517 amendments to the state Constitution since its adoption in 1876, according to the Legislative Reference Library.
Fourteen more proposed amendments will be submitted for voter approval at the general election on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.
The following report contains an explanation of the process by which constitutional amendments are adopted and information on the proposed 2023 amendments, including a background, analysis, and arguments made by supporters and critics on each proposal.
The Texas Constitution is a living document that can be modified and adapted to suit the evolving needs and wants of the state’s residents. In order to make changes to the constitution, a majority of Texas voters must approve a proposed constitutional amendment.
When the Texas Legislature wishes to establish a constitutional amendment, it does so by passing a joint resolution. This can be accomplished in either a regular or a special session, and such resolutions cannot be vetoed by the governor.
According to Article 17, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution, a joint resolution must be adopted by at least two-thirds of the members in each legislative house before it can be presented to the electorate. For example, House Joint Resolution 3 (HJR) by Bonnen was proposed during the 88th legislative session related to funding for emerging research universities. The final version was approved by both legislative bodies, and on May 29, 2023, HJR 3 was approved for distribution to voters.
In order for a joint resolution to be presented to voters, it must include the proposed text of the constitutional amendment. Additionally, the resolution must specify the election date and the wording of the ballot proposition that will be presented to voters.
If multiple propositions are under consideration, the secretary of state conducts a random drawing to assign each proposition a ballot number. If voters reject a proposal to amend the constitution, the Legislature may choose to resubmit it. For instance, in 1921, the 37th Legislature passed a joint resolution to abolish the Board of Prison Commissioners. However, voters initially rejected the proposal on July 23 of that year. Later, in November of 1926, the resolution was resubmitted to voters and passed relatively unchanged.
The Legislature specifies an election date for voter consideration of proposed constitutional amendments. In recent years, most proposals have been submitted at the November general election held in odd-numbered years.
Texas Constitution Art. 17, sec. 1 requires that a brief explanatory statement of the nature of each proposed amendment, along with the ballot wording for each, be published twice in each newspaper in the state that prints official notices.
The secretary of state prepares the explanatory statement, which must be approved by the attorney general. The first notice must be published 50 to 60 days before the election. The second notice must be published on the same day of the following week.
The secretary of state must send a complete copy of each amendment to each county clerk, who must post it in the courthouse at least 30 days before the election.
Some constitutional amendments are self-enacting and require no additional legislation to implement their provisions. Other amendments grant discretionary authority to the Legislature to enact legislation in a particular area or within certain guidelines. These amendments require “enabling” legislation to fill in the details of how the amendment would operate.
The Legislature sometimes adopts enabling legislation in advance, making the effective date of the legislation contingent on voter approval of a particular amendment. If voters reject the amendment, the legislation dependent on the constitutional change does not take effect.
Constitutional amendments take effect when the official vote canvass confirms statewide majority approval unless a later date is specified. Statewide election results are tabulated by the secretary of state and must be canvassed by the governor 15 to 30 days following the election.
Futuro RGV is a group of citizen volunteers who present information regarding issues and concerns in our communities. It is committed to bringing impartial and non-partisan information on quality-of-life issues affecting area cities including economic growth, educational opportunities, healthy families, safe neighborhoods, green space, culture and the arts.
Futuro RGV is among the numerous prominent public affairs organizations in deep South Texas. It began as Futuro McAllen as an advocacy citizen group in 1999 for quality-of-life issues that were in danger of being side tracked due to the tremendous growth taking place in that city.
Quality of life is a highly subjective measure of happiness that is an essential component of many financial decisions. Factors that play a role in the quality of life vary according to personal preferences, but they often include financial security, job satisfaction, family life, health, and safety.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).