Texas voters have approved 491 amendments to the state Constitution since its adoption in 1876. Seven more proposed amendments will be submitted for voter approval at the general election on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Listed below are descriptions of the seven proposed constitutional amendments.
Prop. 1 would fix a “technical” error in current law that provides a property tax exemption for partially disabled veterans. Currently, only a veteran that has received a homestead donation donated in full may receive a property tax exemption. Prop 1. would allow a veteran to claim this property exemption even if the veteran paid some cost as part of the homestead donation.
Prop. 2 would revise existing provisions related to home equity loans. A home equity loan is a loan that allows a homeowner to borrow against home equity – the difference between the home’s fair market value and the total balance of all debts secured by the home. A homeowner in Texas is not allowed to borrow more than 80% of the homes fair market value. Moreover, a home owner cannot take out a home equity loan if the total balance of all debts secured by the home is more than 50%. However, if Prop. 2 passes, a homeowner could take out a home equity loan even if they owe more than 50% on their home – so long as they don’t exceed the 80% rule. Prop. 2 would also:
- Lower the cap on fees charged to borrowers from 3% to 2%, but exclude the following fees from counting towards the cap:
- Third party appraisal fees,
- Property surveyor fees,
- Mortgage policy or title insurance fees,
- Certain title examination fees.
- Allow home equity loans to be refinanced as non-home equity loans if certain conditions are met.
- Require the lender to notify the homeowner of the difference between a home equity and non-home equity loan before the loan is closed.
- Repeal a prohibition on issuing home equity loans for homesteads designated for agricultural use.
Prop 3 would fix a “technical” issue relating to the terms of Governor appointees until their successors are duly qualified. Currently, any appointee must continue in their official capacity until they are replaced, regardless of whether they are paid a salary or not. Prop. 3 would create an exemption for appointees that are not paid a salary to address concerns that some volunteer appointees are held over in their positions long after their terms have expired.
Prop. 4 would require courts to notify the Attorney General of Texas when a party to a lawsuit files a petition, motion or other pleading that challenges the constitutionality of a Texas statute. The proposition would also establish a period of up to 45 days after a court gave the required notice during which the court could not enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.
Prop. 5 would expand the pool of sports organizations eligible to conduct charitable raffles conducted by various nonprofit or religious organizations. Right now, only Texas teams in the MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL or MLS may participate in charitable raffles. Under Prop. 5, the PGA WNBA, NBA Development League, NASCAR, INDYCar, and various other minor league teams would be able to participate in charitable raffles.
Prop. 6 would exempt the surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed forces who was killed in action, and who has not remarried since the service members death, from certain property taxes.
Prop. 7 would allow credit unions and other financial institutions to conduct promotional activities to encourage consumers to save money. Individuals could enter the raffle by depositing a certain amount of money in a savings account or other savings program. Prizes could be awarded to one or more of the institutions depositors selected by lot.