AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas voters approved several constitutional amendments Tuesday that will allow new cooperation between cities and counties, give the governor more power to issue pardons and borrow more money for student loans.
With less than 4 percent of voters turning out to cast ballots, voters approved Proposals 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 10, according to unofficial results from the Texas Secretary of State's office. But Texans rejected Propositions 4 and 8, measures that would have allowed counties to issue development bonds in the same way that cities do now and provide property tax exemptions for land used for water conservation purposes.
Proposition 1 allows the surviving spouses of all disabled veterans to continue claiming an exemption from state property tax after the veteran dies. Until now, a widow or widower had to resume paying the property tax after her or his disabled spouse died.
The Higher Education Coordinating Board will now be able to finance low-interest student loans with government bonds, since Proposition 3 passed. Supporters argued that the plan was necessary because budget cuts to financial aid programs at the state and federal level would likely increase the demand for fixed-rate loans.
Proposition 5 authorizes the Legislature to allow cities and counties to enter into contracts with other cities and counties without triggering a property tax.
The Texas governor will be able to grant a pardon, reprieve or commutation of punishment to a person who completes a sentence of deferred adjudication under Proposition 9. The records could only be cleared on the written recommendation and advice of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Proposition 10 allows local elected officeholders an extra 30 days before triggering automatic resignation if they become a candidate for another office. The change was made to accommodate a change in the state's filing deadlines.