Texas Passes Eight State Constitutional Amendments, Protects Religious Freedom, Retirement Home Rights | New

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Texas, voters passed eight amendments to their state’s constitution to address issues of religious freedom, judicial experience and access to nursing homes.

The 2021 poll in Texas on Tuesday saw residents vote on eight new amendments to the state’s Constitution. All of these amendments were approved by the Texas Legislature before being presented to voters.

Wednesday morning, with 100% of the counties report, all eight amendments were adopted.

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The most notable amendment resulting from Tuesday’s vote would be Proposal 3. This amendment would amend section 1 of the state constitution by adding a section that prohibits Texas or a “political subdivision” of Texas “from banning or limiting the religious services of religious organizations.” This would prevent the state from passing any law, rule, order or proclamation restricting religious gatherings or organizations at any time.

Proposition 6 would give residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities the right to designate an essential caregiver who cannot be prohibited from visiting the resident. The Texas Legislature tabled this legal change in response to Texas Health and Social Services ordering nursing facilities to deny non-essential visitors to March 2020.

Two of the proposals would directly affect the Texas legal system. Proposition 4 requires district court candidates to have eight years of practicing law in Texas and Texas Supreme Court candidates to be ten years old. This doubles the time it takes to practice law in Texas to become a district judge and prevents lawyers from counting years of out-of-state practice for their credentials.

Proposal 5 would allow the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to oversee candidates for judicial office by accepting complaints or reports and reprimanding them. The Commission currently exercises oversight over current judicial office holders.

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Other amendments in the vote dealt with several logistical or state-specific matters in Texas. For example, Proposal 1 would allow charity raffles at rodeo events. Proposal 2 will allow counties to issue bonds or notes to raise funds for infrastructure in underdeveloped areas.

Proposal 7 limits school district property taxes incurred by the surviving spouse of a disabled person over the age of 65 who has died. Proposition 8 Extend residential property tax exemptions to spouses of military personnel who have been fatally injured or have died.

Texas had no state-elected seats on the ballot in 2021. However, many local elections resulted in votes for area-specific positions.

Original location: Texas passes eight state constitutional amendments, protects religious freedom, nursing home rights

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