Texas voters statewide have easily approved all seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution.
Texans voted Tuesday to support increasing homeowners' school property tax homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000, which should save the average family about $125 per year.
Voters also allowed the land and agriculture commissioners, the comptroller, attorney general and members of the Rail Road Commission to live outside Austin -- though none say they plan to. The governor, lieutenant governor and Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals justices won't be affected.
Hunting and fishing were solidified as constitutional rights, and voters approved at least an extra $2.5 billion annually in public funding for roads and highways clogged by Texas' booming population.
The results of Tuesday's election also relax rules on professional sports team raffles and road privatization in small counties, while exempting more spouses of totally disabled veterans from paying property taxes.
Gov. Greg Abbott said that by passing all seven constitutional amendments, Texas residents "are creating an even better place for future generations to live, work and raise a family."
Here's a guide to the election:
PROP 1 -- TAX TRIMS
Proposition 1 increases homeowners' school property tax homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000, saving the average family roughly $125 annually while costing the state about $1.2 billion in tax revenue for school districts during the first two years.
The Legislature has budgeted extra funding so schools won't see shortfalls, at least in the short term.
PROP 2 - MORE TAX TRIMS
Proposition 2 offers property tax exemptions to the spouses of totally disabled veterans who died before January 2010.
Similar exemptions already exist for spouses of totally disabled veterans who died in 2011 or later.
PROP 3 -- ANYWHERE BUT AUSTIN
The land and agriculture commissioners, comptroller, attorney general and members of the Rail Road Commission would be allowed to live somewhere other than the state capital if voters approve Proposition 3.
Supporters argued that modern technology allows elected officials to do their jobs from anywhere, though none of those current officeholders say they'll move if given the chance.
It won't apply to the governor and the 1856 Greek Revival-style Austin mansion he occupies, nor the lieutenant governor.
PROP 4 -- RAFFLE RIGHTS
Proposition 4 will allow professional teams to hold charitable raffles at all home games.
That's good news for supporters, which included the Dallas Cowboys and most of the state's top sports franchises.
PROP 5 -- ROAD REFERENDUMS
Proposition 5 lets counties with fewer than 7,500 people privatize road construction and maintenance -- up from the current maximum of 5,000 residents.
About 70 counties qualify.
PROP 6 -- GONE FISHIN'
Proposition 6 "recognizes the right for people to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife."
Supporters say it will protect those activities from future lawsuits.
Though such legal challenges have been sparse, 18 states already have solidified such guarantees in their constitutions.
PROP 7 -- MORE ROAD REFERENDUMS
Proposition 7 means that when sales tax revenue exceeds $28 billion per fiscal year, the next $2.5 billion would go to road construction and maintenance starting in September 2017.
Then, beginning in September 2019, if tax revenue from vehicle sales and rentals exceeds $5 billion per fiscal year, 35 percent of the amount exceeding $5 billion would go to road funding.
The amendment allows the GOP-controlled Legislature to bolster transportation infrastructure strained by Texas' booming population without raising taxes.
- Proposition 1 -- Public Safety -- The issuance of $3,500,000 general obligation bonds for public safety facilities and the levy of a tax in payment thereof. (Results)
- Proposition 2 -- Parks & Recreation -- The issuance of $3,500,000 general obligation bonds for park and recreation facilities and the levy of a tax in payment thereof. (Results)
- Proposition 3 -- Street Improvements -- The issuance of $8,000,000 general obligation bonds for street improvements and the levy of a tax in payment thereof. (Results)
- Proposition 1 - Tax Ratification -- The first item voters will see is a Tax Ratification Election. After the Legislature compressed the tax rate in 2006, the tax rate for most districts was $1.04, down from $1.50 The Legislature has not substantially raised state funding since 2006 despite constant cost of living increases across all resources. Grand Prairie ISD’s M&O tax rate has been $1.04 since 2006. Texas school districts are able to raise the M&O tax rate with voter approval. If passed, the tax rate will increase to $1.17, which is lower than the M&O tax rate in 2006, and the funds will be used for salary benefits, safety and security, transportation, curriculum and instruction, technology, and to fund many of the bond projects while maintaining the same I&S tax rate. (Results)
- Proposition 2 - Schools Bond -- The bond package aims to fund various campus improvement projects including safety and security updates, new athletics and fine arts facilities, school renovations and additions, new facility construction and technology upgrades. If passed, the total of the new bond will be $91,000,000, without an increase in the I&S tax rate. Issuing $91,000,000 in bonds without raising the I&S tax rate will only be possible if the M&O tax rate is ratified by the voters (the TRE). (Results)
- Proposition 3 - Refunding Bond -- Finally, voters will be asked to consider a proposal which allows GPISD to refund debt through a conversion of bonds estimated to reduce interest paid approximately $100 million dollars over the life of the bonds. This will not issue new debt; rather, it will allow the District to refund and convert the existing bonds into lower interest rate bonds. (Results)
- Proposition 1 - Street Bond -- $71.6 million for arterial and neighborhood streets around the city. Sample projects include completing Corporate Drive/Windhaven Parkway from Railroad Street to Plano Parkway; connecting Valley Ridge Boulevard to the new Corporate Drive; and replacing streets in multiple residential neighborhoods. The list of actual projects could change depending on traffic and development patterns, or if outside funding is secured for some of the sample projects. (Results)
- Proposition 2 - Parks and Rec Bond -- $39.9 million for parks and trails, including a new multi-generational recreation center that would incorporate the current Memorial Park Rec Center and Senior Activity Center; improvements to Lewisville Lake Park day use areas and campground; and new hike/bike trails citywide. (Results)
- Proposition 3 - Police and Fire Bond -- $10.5 million for public safety facilities, including a new Fire Station #3 located closer to FM 3040 than the current station and closer to new developments in southwest Lewisville; a second-floor addition to the police administration building; and a hardened emergency operations center in the basement of Lewisville City Hall. (Results)
- Proposition 4 - Aquatic Center Bond -- $13 million for an indoor aquatic facility that would be added to the new recreation center. (Results)
- Proposition 1 - Street Improvements -- Streets Improvements: $64,095,920 for construction of street projects. Potential projects for funding were chosen based on current priorities and on factors such as traffic volumes, potential for economic development, how quickly the project could be ready for construction and whether the project provides additional capacity improvements. (Results)
- Proposition 2 - Airport Construction -- McKinney National Airport: $50 million for land acquisition and facilities construction. Construction and land acquisition would continue development of McKinney National Airport. Land acquisition costs are eligible for up to 90% reimbursement from the Federal Aviation Administration. (Results)
- Proposition 3 - Public Safety Facilities -- Fire and police stations. (Results)
- Public Safety Building Projects: $3 million for improvements and expansions to the McKinney Public Safety Building complex. The public safety building continues to serve growing police and fire departments. Funding would be used: 1) to design 50,000 square feet of the final phase of the complex; 2) to complete the finish-out of approximately 5,000 square feet; and 3) for design and construction of an indoor gun range.
- Fire Stations: $19.5 million for design and construction of two fire stations Both planned fire stations would accommodate service and department growth correlating to an increasing residential and business population. New stations enable the department to provide protection to citizens by decreasing response times and increasing service levels.
- Proposition 4 - Municipal Buildings -- Accessibility, library and fleet maintenance. (Results)
- Accessibility Improvements to Facilities: $1.2 million for facilities improvements. This funding would allow continuing removal of architectural barriers for accessibility as required by the Department of Justice in the administration of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- John and Judy Gay Library: $9.5 million for expansion design and construction. The proposed expansion would approximately double the size of the John and Judy Gay Library. The expansion would accommodate requested capacity for existing programs and enable library staff to develop new programs and services for library users.
- Public Works Fleet Maintenance Facility: $1 million for facility design and construction. A new facility would be used to maintain the city vehicle fleet as McKinney continues to grow. The proposed facility would increase the fleet maintenance space by approximately 50 percent.
- Proposition 5 - Downtown Parking -- Downtown Parking Structure: $10 million dollars for design and construction. The structured downtown parking garage would serve downtown McKinney visitors, merchants and employees. (Results)
- Proposition 6 - Flood Protection -- Dam Rehabilitation: $2 million for dam improvements. Dam rehabilitation projects provide flood protection. (Results)
- Proposition 7 - Parks and Rec -- Parks: Revoke $13 million previously approved park bond capacity. Funding sources have been identified which would cover parks projects for the next 10 years without incurring debt. (Results)
- Proposition 1 - Add Land -- Adding a tract of land located in Poolville Fire Service Area to Parker County Emergency Services District 1. (Results)
- Proposition 2 - Assume Land Debt -- The tract of land located in the Poolville Fire Service Area assuming its proportionate share of the outstanding debts and taxes of the Parker County Emergency Services District No. 1, if it's added to the district. (Results)
- Proposition 1 – Public Buildings -- This $67 million proposition includes funding for renovations to several municipal buildings including the Richardson Animal Shelter, Fire Station #3 replacement, Library, and addition of a parking lot for the City’s Fire Training Center. The largest project within this proposition includes funding to expand and renovate the Richardson Public Safety Complex located at Belt Line Road and Greenville Avenue. (Results)
- Proposition 2 – Streets -- This $38.57 million proposition includes funding for 3.2 miles of rehabilitation projects for the following collector streets:
- Lookout Drive - Plano Road east to terminus
- Glenville Drive - Campbell Road to Commerce Drive
- Custer Road - Campbell Road to Arapaho Road
- West Prairie Creek Drive - Campbell Road to Collins Boulevard
- Proposition 3 – Parks -- This $7.2 million proposition includes funding to replace five neighborhood playgrounds, the expansion of hike and bike trails at Breckinridge Park and the newly expanded Spring Creek Nature Area, renovations to the Richardson Senior Center and an updated pool building and equipment for the Canyon Creek Public Pool. (Results)
- Proposition 4 – Sidewalks -- This $2.2 million proposition would replace more than 10 miles of sidewalks in five of the City’s 27 sidewalk regions. In the 2006 and 2010 bond referendums voters approved projects in the 22 regions not included in the 2015 proposition. (Results)
- Proposition No. 1 - Police and Town Hall -- The issuance of $5,400,000 general obligation bonds for a joint police and town hall facility and the levy of a tax in payment thereof. (Results)
- Proposition No. 2 - Term Limits Amendment -- Term Limits: An amendment to repeal Section 3.22 “Term Limits” in its entirety in order to remove the Charter provision that restricts a person from holding office as Mayor or as a Councilmember for successive full terms totaling more than six (6) years. (Results)
- Proposition No. 3 - Submission Amendment -- Budget, Finance and Taxation-Submission: An amendment to Section 9.02 “Submission” repealing the language requiring that the Town Manager submit a proposed budget and message to Town Council before August 1 of each year and adopting language requiring the submission of the budget and message each year in accordance with State law requirements. (Results)
EQUAL RIGHTS REFERENDUM
An ordinance that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people in Houston failed to win approval from voters on Tuesday.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was rejected after a nearly 18-month battle that spawned rallies, legal fights and accusations of both religious intolerance and demonization of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
With nearly 83 percent of precincts reporting, Houston residents had rejected the ordinance by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent.
Supporters of the ordinance had said it would have offered increased protections for gay and transgender people, as well as protections against discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories.
Opponents of the ordinance, including a coalition of conservative pastors, said it infringed on their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality.
Houston also was choosing a successor for term-limited, openly gay Mayor Annise Parker, but a runoff looked likely since none of a field packed with 13 hopefuls was expected to win a majority of the ballots cast.
A second round of voting would take place Dec. 12 between Tuesday's top two finishers.
Editor's Note: All local proposition descriptions obtained from local government election websites.