The May election made it abundantly clear: voter turnout is ridiculously low, even when Bexar County residents are voting for their own mayor and City Council members. Just 12 percent of registered voters turned out.
Just a few months later, it's already time for another election.
On November 3, Texans will vote on seven propositions to amend the state's constitution.
Early voting started yesterday
and will run through October 30. Election day is November 3. As of Monday, nearly 2,600 people voted in Bexar County.
Here's what you need to know about the propositions before going to the polls:
: would increase the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem tax purposes for public schools from $15,000 to $25,000. Supporters say the tax is onerous, and the exemption needs to be updated to account for rising property appraisals while opponents argue the savings — $126 a year — are nominal.
: would exempt surviving spouses of veterans who were 100 percent disabled and died before the veterans homestead exemption law took effect from paying all of or part property taxes on homes. Supporters say the law needs to be updated as it creates two classes of surviving spouses. If a 100 percent disabled veteran died before January 1, 2010, their spouse is not eligible for the exemption. Opponents say enlarging the pool would reduce tax revenue for school districts, local governments and other taxing units.
: would allow state officials to live outside of Austin. Certain officials, like the Attorney General or railroad commissioners, are required to live in Austin. Supporters say it would reduce burden on their families and that the rule roots in the late 1800s when state officials traveled by horse and buggy. Opponents say getting rid of that rule could lead to negligent officials, and that officials might choose a residency where the courts might be friendlier to them instead of Travis County, should they get in trouble.
: would allow professional sports team charitable foundations to hold charitable raffles. Supporters say this is a way to allow professional sports teams to highlight their philanthropy and raise awareness about community needs. While a handful of gambling opponents are wary of the proposition, no one actually showed up to the Legislature to oppose the bill, making it likely the least controversial proposition out there.
: allows counties with no more than 7,500 people to perform private road construction and maintenance. Supporters say small rural counties need to be allowed to fix problematic roads as private companies probably won't make the trip for a minor project. Opponents say do away with the threshold. All counties should be able to do this.
: recognizes the people's right to hunt. Supporters are so terrified of animal rights activists that they want to create this law while opponents point out they already have the right to hunt in Texas.
: would dedicate certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use and rental tax revenue to the highway fund to pay for non-tolled roads and certain transportation-related debt. Supporters say this would provide reliable funding for the state's transportation infrastructure, which is not efficient and in poor repair. Opponents say the measure would tied the hands of future Legislatures and lead to cuts in state services.