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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Voters approve all seven constitutional amendments
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by Jo Clifton
Although the majority of votes cast in Texas had not yet been counted, supporters of seven proposed state constitutional amendments had every reason to celebrate by mid evening on Tuesday.
In Travis County, about 6 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Statewide, and in Travis County, Propositions 1 and 2 were the most popular.
Proposition 1, which will raise the homestead exemption for school property taxes from $15,000 to $25,000 passed handily, with 87 percent of the state’s voters in favor, including about 83 percent in Travis County. The League of Women Voters estimated that the exemption would save the average homeowner $126 annually.
Proposition 2 was proposed to help surviving spouses of disabled military veterans who had enjoyed a 100 percent property tax exemption. It will help widows and widowers who have not remarried upon the death of their spouse. An amendment approved in 2011 inadvertently left out surviving spouses of veterans who died before Jan. 1, 2010. This proposition, which Texans approved by 92 percent, won approval from 86 percent of Travis County voters.
Proposition 3 will allow some statewide officeholders to reside outside of Austin. It is not clear which officials might want to take advantage of living somewhere else, but 67 percent of Texans who bothered to vote approved that change. However in Travis County, only 46 percent approved, while about 54 percent said no.
Proposition 4 will allow the Legislature to permit charitable foundations connected to professional sports teams to conduct charitable raffles. Texans approved this proposition by 69 percent. Travis County voters approved the same measure by about 57 percent.
Proposition 5 allows counties that have a population of 7,500 or fewer people to perform private road construction and maintenance. This proposition will allow small counties to maintain roads in areas where there are few private contractors available, according to proponents. About 83 percent of Texas voters approved this amendment, including 80 percent of those voting in Travis County.
Proposition 6, the subject of many jokes around Austin at least, preserves the right “to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.” Any number of people pointed out that while popular, the rights to hunt and fish were not threatened and did not need to become a part of the Constitution. Nevertheless, 82 percent of those who voted in Tuesday’s election thought otherwise. In Travis County, about 61 percent approved.
Proposition 7, which will send $2.5 billion a year in proceeds from the state’s sales tax to the state highway fund, won approval from 84 percent of Texas voters, including about 77 percent in Travis County.
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