7 Proposed Amendments to the Texas Constitution – Put Through the Test

Below are all 7 of the proposed amendments to our Texas Constitution which will be on the Nov. 7, 2017 Texas ballot.

Here’s an explanation of the 7 proposals and their application to the 3-question-test on constitutionality. [3-question-test can be found here:  http://ntcl.org/2013/10/13/all-laws-must-pass-the-constitutional-test/  ]

PROP#1 – NO

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO
It selectively supports the life, liberty, and property of certain homesteaders, increasing the burden on those not qualifying for this or other exemptions

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO
Again, selectively creates a special class of homesteaders at the expense of those not qualifying for the exemption

3.) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NO
It selectively benefits a special class of homestead property owners and increases the perpetual funding burden to non-exempt property owners. Keep in mind that this also increases the tax burden on the many veterans who rent their homes. In other words, they do not qualify for the annual cap on property appraisals for taxing purposes.
The answer to the property tax question is to abolish property taxes on ALL residences to prevent everyone from being taxed out of a home.

Prop 1 passed in the House 143-0, and in the Senate 31-0

PROP #2 – NO

The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO
Since property ownership is the bedrock of our republic it shall be protected at all costs once obtained.  If opponents that are quoted in the 2 state publications mentioned in the video above are correct, Prop 2 would actually:
• erase constitutional protections for homeowners which were carefully negotiated when home equity loans were first authorized.
• It would disguise the potential for lender fee increases because the amendment excludes from the calculation of the fee cap certain items that generally represent the highest up‐front costs ‐ that of third‐party appraisals, surveys, title insurance, and title examination reports.
• Lenders would have greater incentive to increase their own origination fees despite the two percent limit.
• And Prop 2 increases the prospective profits from loan origination fees, and would encourage improvident lending.  Lenders could later sell badly performing loans on the secondary market – such was the behavior that contributed to the 2007‐2009 recession.

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO

3.) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NO
Not if Purchasers and Lenders are encouraged to repeat the behavior that contributed to the housing recession of 2007 thru 2009.

Prop #2 passed unanimously in both the House (143-0) and Senate (30-0)

PROP #3 – YES

The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person’s term of office.

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
YES
The Texas Constitution requires the Governor to make hundreds of appointments to his Executive Departments.

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NEUTRAL/YES
If the removal of time limits on the appointments to non-salaried positions improves the efficient and just operation of the Texas government, then yes.

3.) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
YES
This change only applies to non-salaried appointments.

Prop 3 passed the House 142-4 (Craddick; Isaac; Murr; Raney), in the Senate (31-0)

PROP #4 – NO

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO
Not if this blurs the lines between the 3 separate branches of Texas government and causes unwarranted delay in due process.  Many are not aware that the Texas AG is part of the Executive branch, not judicial.

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NEUTRAL

3.) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NO
If Rep Rinaldi’s example is used as explained in the video above, Prop 4 would increase the cost of due process to those initiating the court action.

Prop 4 passed in the House: 136-9 (Anchia; Cain; Collier; Cook; Israel; Rinaldi; Stickland; Tinderholt; Wu), and in the Senate 30-1 (Hall)

PROP #5 – NO

The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NEUTRAL
Government shouldn’t be in the business of deciding who participates in charity in the first place

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO

3.) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
YES/NO
Government is not forcing anyone to participate however there is a government cost to administer and police the “authorized” activity.
Prop 5 passed in the House 110-12 (nays being all Republicans) and 24-6 in the Senate (all 6 nays being Republicans)
I asked my senator why he voted against this proposition and his response was that there hasn’t been sufficient history since the 2015 amendment, to make an educated decision on these raffles and more time is needed. The 2015 amendment went into effect in 2016.

Prop 5 passed in the House 110-12 (Biedermann; Cain; Isaac; Lang; Leach; Rinaldi; Schaefer; Shaheen; Stickland; Swanson; Tinderholt; Zedler) and in the Senate 24-6 (Birdwell, Burton, Hall, Hancock, Huffines, Taylor of Collin)

PROP #6 – NO

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NO
Although everyone wants to show gratitude to anyone who puts their life on the line in their work, whether it be for the government or private industry, increasing the tax burden on a shrinking number of homesteaders is not the answer.  All property taxes should be abolished.

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO
Not all property owners qualify for this tax exemption

3.) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
NO
Prop 6 increases the tax burden on those not fitting the definition of spouse of deceased “first responder”.

Prop 6 passed in the House 147-0, and in the Senate 30-0

PROP #7 – NO

The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.

1.) Is it “constitutional”?
(Supports the constitutional republic)
NEUTRAL
There are questions as to what business the state has in deciding such transactions that carry little to no risk for the consumer.

2.) Is there a need?
(Do all the People have a need for and benefit from the proposed government intervention?)
NO
3.) Affordability?
(Can the People afford it? Is the cost equal and uniform?)
YES
Reportedly there is no cost to the consumer, just a business expense to the financial institution however; there will be additional government costs to administer and police this activity.
Prop 7 passed unanimously in the House (141-0), and passed with 1 Nay vote in the Senate, that of Sen Burton.  Her staff responded when asked the reason for her no vote with “Sen. Burton opposed the bill because the operation of raffles for any purpose constitute a game of chance played for a monetary reward which is gambling.  While this legislation does not permit casino-style gambling, it further normalizes games of chance played for money that is against the spirit of the state’s constitutional ban on gambling.

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OFFICIAL REPORTS PUBLISHED BY THE STATE OF TEXAS on the 7 proposed amendments:
House Research Organization: http://www.hro.house.state.tx.us/pdf/focus/amend85.pdf
Texas Legislative Council: http://www.tlc.texas.gov/docs/amendments/analyses17.pdf

Early Voting: Oct 23 – Nov 3

ELECTION DAY Nov 7th (Tuesday)

3 thoughts on “7 Proposed Amendments to the Texas Constitution – Put Through the Test”

  1. Asking if a constitutional amendment is constitutional creates real cognitive dissonance. If you want to ask whether something supports liberal republicanism, or classical liberal ideals, you should say that instead.

    1. Good point. All these labels mean something different to those who use them, even when identifying themselves.

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