On Nov. 5, Texas voters decided on 10 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, nine of which were approved.
The only proposed amendment that did not pass was Proposition 1, which read as, “The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.” With that result, elected municipal court judges will not be able to serve multiple municipalities at the same time.
One of the most discussed proposed amendments, Proposition 4, passed with 76.19 percent of the votes. It said, “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.”
With the passing of Proposition 4, Texas lawmakers will be unable to impose a state income tax unless the constitution sees another change. Governor Greg Abbott voiced his support for the amendment leading up to the election and called its passing, “a victory for taxpayers across the Lone Star State,” on Tuesday night in a statement.
“I am grateful to Representative Jeff Leach for his bold leadership on this issue, and for the overwhelming majority of Texans who voted to ensure that our great state will always be free of a state income tax,” Abbott said. “This ban on such a disastrous tax will keep our economy prosperous, protect taxpayers, and ensure that Texas remains the best state to live, work, and raise a family.”
Proposition 10 received the greatest amount of support with nearly 94 percent voting, “yes.” The amendment will allow retired law enforcement animals to be adopted by qualified caretakers, making transfers of ownership easier when it is in the best interest of the animal. Other approved propositions included the creation of a flood infrastructure fund, an allowance for an increase in distributions to the Available School Fund, which provides materials for classrooms and funding for Texas schools and temporary tax exemptions to those who sustain property damage in governor-declared disaster areas.
UNT students had the opportunity to vote in the Gateway Center on campus.
“Students should be voting in the constitutional amendment election in particular because it affects everyone in the state,” SGA Governmental Affairs Director Deana Ayers said. “Even if we can’t influence the decisions of everyone in Texas, we can show that the student body at UNT has strong political opinions about different issues. In addition, the bond propositions for the city of Denton will affect the quality of life of students for the next several years. Also, the more students we have voting in the Gateway Center during off year and local elections, the more likely we are to have a polling place in the presidential election in 2020.”
Organizations such as the Student Government Association urged students to vote by posting on their social media account and hosting a pizza party where students had the opportunity to learn more about the proposed amendments before the ballot closed.
“SGA has been pushing students to vote because our voices matter,” Ayers said. “As members of the Denton community and people affected by the decisions the state legislature makes, it’s incredibly important for students to be active participants in political decision making. We also see it as a priority because it is a way to channel the passion that students have for making a difference in the community.”
Accounting and business economics junior Avery Barthold voted on Election Day.
“It’s my civic duty to vote,” Barthold said. “People should definitely be voting in the local election. In my opinion, it’s more important than the national election in some ways. In the national elections, your vote counts for an extremely small percentage of the whole. In the local elections, however, it has more weight.”
Being an economics student impacted Barthold’s decision to vote.
“With one of my majors being economics, I think voting may have a bigger meaning to me than some others around me,” Barthold said. “Economics tells us we can’t obtain everything we want. Voting allows me to help decide what issues I feel are more important than others.”
Locally, propositions that aim to support street repairs, public safety improvements and parkland acquisition passed while a public art proposition did not pass, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. Nationally, the Democratic party took control of both chambers of Virigina’s legislature while Democrat Andy Beshear won the election over Republican Matt Bevin to be Kentucky’s next governor, according to the New York Times.
The full list of Propositions and election results can be found at https://results.texas-election.com/races
Featured Image: The Gateway Center acts as UNT’s official polling location on Nov. 5, 2019. Image by Ricardo Vazquez Garcia