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The 14 Constitutional Amendments from the 88th Session Explained
It's never too early to start ballot harvesting.
The Most Conservative Legislative Session™ since the last Most Conservative Session™ has produced a number of proposed changes to the Texas Constitution.
The Texas Secretary of State’s Office released the list of 14 proposed Constitutional Amendments that were passed as joint resolutions during the 88th Session and will appear on this year’s general election ballot in November. After reading through all 14 and gulping down enough Bang energy drinks to cause a non-vaxxed heart attack, we made an easy rundown:
Prop. 1 from HJR 126
"The constitutional amendment protecting the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management."
While it seems nice, these things have always been a right in Texas. In particular, wildlife management (i.e. Hunting) is already protected by the Texas Constitution. The full text of the amendment also makes it clear there are broad exemptions to this alleged “right” that let the unelected government bureaucracy decide when your rights end.
Prop. 2 from SJR 64
“The constitutional amendment authorizing a local option exemption from ad valorem taxation by a county or municipality of all or part of the appraised value of real property used to operate a child-care facility.”
One of the biggest ways lawmakers can exercise power and influence is to selectively exempt groups of people or entities from property taxes. This list of special exemptions grows larger every time lawmakers meet, serving as a kind of pressure relief valve for meaningful reform. This amendment is peculiar in that it leaves the door open for the legislature to change the definition of who this exemption applies to at any time without passing another amendment. Sounds legit, right?
Prop. 3 from HJR 132
“The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual wealth or net worth tax, including a tax on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family.”
The old “ban the thing that does not exist” trick. Whatever. That type of taxation may not exist in Texas, but it sounds nuts. I guess this is OK?
VERDICT: I GUESS THIS IS OK
Prop. 4 from HJR 2
“The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to establish a temporary limit on the maximum appraised value of real property other than a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes; to increase the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation by a school district applicable to residence homesteads from $40,000 to $100,000; to adjust the amount of the limitation on school district ad valorem taxes imposed on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect increases in certain exemption amounts; to except certain appropriations to pay for ad valorem tax relief from the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations; and to authorize the legislature to provide for a four-year term of office for a member of the board of directors of certain appraisal districts.”
This is the “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Amendment” which seems decent at first glance, but has already been exposed as a scam. This is the government returning a portion of its ill-gotten gains, and Republicans want us to be grateful.
VERDICT: MOSTLY SCAM
Prop. 5 from HJR 3
“The constitutional amendment relating to the Texas University Fund, which provides funding to certain institutions of higher education to achieve national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy.”
So the stated goal of this Bonnen bill is to shuffle money around in order to “achieve prominence” with no additional details. Does this sound fishy to you?
I do not believe these investments funneled through state universities are as transparent as other forms of state investments. Between the specificity of exactly how much money will be transferred and the spurious objective of this amendment, it doesn’t smell right. We have a lot of these investment bros in the legislature.
Prop. 6 from SJR 75
“The constitutional amendment creating the Texas water fund to assist in financing water projects in this state.”
Kind of weird that we suddenly need a constitutional amendment to fund water projects. Nevertheless, in light of droughts and the open border of unlimited new random people, this is actually a good idea. It does appear to take responsibility from the legislature and give more power to appointed bodies, effectively giving the governor more power.
VERDICT: OK NOT BAD
Prop. 7 from SJR 93
“The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.”
Appears to be similar to the water fund in that it transfers power away from elected officials and into the hands of Abbott appointees. This could actually be a good thing, given how our elected officials seem to have no idea what is going on.
VERDICT: OK BUT GETTING SUS
Prop. 8 from HJR 125
“The constitutional amendment creating the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects.”
Just as high-speed satellite internet is rolling out, the Texas government wants to create a new boondoggle for land lines.
Prop. 9 from HJR 2
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.”
Must be nice. I want a cost-of-living adjustment.
VERDICT: MUST BE NICE
Prop. 10 from SJR 87
“The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation equipment or inventory held by a manufacturer of medical or biomedical products to protect the Texas healthcare network and strengthen our medical supply chain”
Creates a blank check for the legislature to create tax breaks for anyone occupying 25% of the economy. Given how they responded to the covid plandemic, I would expect Pfizer to be first on the list for a massive tax break whenever the next virus is hyped.
Prop. 11 from SJR 32
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.”
This is how the state keeps a balanced budget, by passing on debt obligations locally.
VERDICT: I HOPE THE PARKS ARE COOL
Prop. 12 from HJR 134
“The constitutional amendment providing for the abolition of the office of county treasurer in Galveston County.”
What’s up with these one-off county amendments? This is a troubling trend. Once a state figures out it can have the entire state vote on county-specific amendments, things get weird real quick. This is how Alabama’s constitution got so out of control.
Prop. 13 from HJR 107
“The constitutional amendment to increase the mandatory age of retirement for state justices and judges.”
They actually want more dementia judges. It’s bad enough that dementia patients are running DC; do you want them controlling Texas too?
Prop. 14 from SJR 74
“The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks.”
Aren’t we already maintaining these? Why do we need another special fund?
VERDICT: OK ARE WE DONE?
Once again, the November ballot is riddled with spam amendments hardly improving Texan’s lives. Sadly, few of these are substantive and are the product of a Left-leaning Legislature. For Constitutional amendments with substance, we’d suggest including these next election:
One allowing the Governor to immediately pardon people without a useless bureaucracy called the Board of Pardons taking forever to give a verdict. By the way, Daniel Perry is still sitting in prison for defending himself from BLM terrorists.
Another is officially allowing the Governor to purge Soros DAs via pen stroke like Desantis does in Florida; if Abbott had any manhood, he would have declared another emergency declaration due to rising crime to get this done, but this amendment would lessen his capacity of excuses. Of course, certain “GOP” fifth columnists will screech about “local control,” but considering they’ll usually defend Abbott’s STATEWIDE lockdown, local control is just a pretext to justify cowardice.
After one session, plus a special session, is this really the best we can get regarding constitutional amendments?
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