Seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution appear on the Nov. 7 ballot, addressing a wide variety of topics.
The Texas Constitution has been amended 491 times since its adoption in 1876.
Here are summaries of each of the latest proposed amendments:
Amendment No. 1 (H.J.R. 21)
Summary: Texas provides numerous property tax breaks for veterans and their spouses. Prop 1 tweaks an existing exemption regarding disabled veterans and homes donated to them by a charity. Current law allows a disabled veteran to claim a partial property tax exemption for a home donated by a charity "at no cost." The change in Prop 1 would expand that to include any home donated by a charity "for less than the market value of the residence homestead."
Amendment No. 2 (S.J.R. 60)
Summary: Prop 2 is a detailed constitutional amendment that updates 20-year old laws regarding home equity loans. If passed, the following changes would go into effect:
1. Borrowers benefit from a lower cap on fees charged for a home equity loan, but certain fees would no longer apply; 2. Agricultural homesteads can qualify for home equity loans; 3. The list of approved home equity loan lenders would be increased; 4. A home equity loan may be refinanced as a non-home equity loan, if certain conditions are met; and 5. Restrictions on making debits or advances on a home equity line of credit are repealed, if the principal amount outstanding of the loan exceeds 50 percent of the fair market value of the home.
Amendment No. 3 (S.J.R. 34)
Summary: Currently, state appointed officials continue to perform the duties of the office until their successor takes office, even if that is after the original appointee's term expires. Prop 3 creates a hard cut-off for an appointee that is leaving his/her position, set at the first day of the next regular session of the legislature.
Amendment No. 4 (S.J.R. 6)
Summary: Prop 4 changes the state's separation of powers laws by requiring a court to notify the attorney general if a party challenges the constitutionality of a new state law. The proposition would also establish that once notice is provided, the court could not find the law unconstitutional for up to 45 days.
Amendment No. 5 (H.J.R. 100)
Summary: Current law allows a charity of an existing professional sports team to conduct a charitable raffle at games hosted at the home venue of the team. Prop 5 would allow newly formed teams to conduct those raffles, and expands the definition of "professional sports team" to include minor league teams and anyone hosting a motorsports racing team or professional golf association event.
Amendment No. 6 (S.J.R. 1)
Summary: Prop 6 creates property tax relief for the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, so long as the spouse has not remarried. The spouse's exemption may be extended to a subsequently qualified home in an amount equal to the exemption of the former home, if the spouse has not remarried.
Amendment No. 7 (H.J.R. 37)
Summary: This proposition clarifies current constitutional laws about lotteries and gift enterprises, which includes most forms of gambling. Prop 7 specifies that Texas law does not prohibit the Legislature from authorizing credit unions and other financial institutions to promote savings by awarding prizes to one or more of the credit union's or financial institution's depositors selected by lottery.