Stand up and be counted on Nov. 7

Carl Parker

Those of us who live in a democratic, free society live under a basic contract. Our contract with the government is embodied in what we know as our constitutions. Our basic document in Texas is a constitution written in approximately 1877. It has undergone several hundred amendments; a major effort in 1977 to rewrite the whole thing failed. The Texas constitution is an instrument or contract we live under. Nov. 7, each of us as qualified voters in Texas will have the opportunity to have a direct say in the provisions of the basic document that controls all the laws by which we must live.

There are seven amendments to be voted on, some good and some, in my opinion, counter-productive to having good and open government.

Our disabled veterans have given more than enough in our defense. Amendment 1 is a small way we can repay them. This amendment allows exempting homes given to disabled vets from property taxes when the home is a gift to them from a charitable organization.

Proposition 2 provides that certain expenses relating to financing home equity loans can be lowered. Unfortunately, Proposition 2 lays a trap for those agriculture producers or farming and ranching folks in the state. It allows, for the first time, for the borrowing of money on the equity in a farm or ranch. This amendment is favored mostly by bankers and lenders but will cause hardship in Texas through people losing their homesteads. I personally intend to vote against Proposition 2.

Proposition 3 is one that I believe not to be well thought out. Currently, the governor appoints many members of various boards throughout the state. When a member’s term expires, if the governor has failed to appoint someone to replace that member, the serving member continues to serve until a replacement is appointed. This amendment would prevent that and would require the member whose term is expiring to give up service on the committee or commission to which he/she had been appointed. This could, in fact, cripple many agencies where the governor negligently or on purpose chooses not to appoint a replacement. Many boards cannot function without a full complement of their governing members. Proposition 3 should be opposed.

Proposition 4 puts up a barrier for judges in certain litigation where constituents and folks claim a law passed by the Legislature violates our constitution. This would impose a mandatory delay and require the involvement of our attorney general in every such lawsuit. In my opinion, this throws another barrier to our open court provision in Texas that provides every Texas citizen should have free and open access to the court system. Proposition 4 should be voted down.

Proposition 5 allows sports organizations and charitable organizations to conduct charitable raffles. We have bingo and other charitable functions in the state; I see nothing wrong with allowing charitable organizations to raise money for good purposes.

Proposition 6 allows exemption from property taxes for either all or part of the market value of a residence homestead of a surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or   fatally injured in the line of duty. Unfortunately, most of our firefighters and police are underpaid. This would give a little security to those who risk their lives every day to protect our property and persons. Proposition 6 should be supported and passed.

Proposition 7 has to do with allowing credit unions to give prizes to induce people into investing. Actually I did not realize they were not authorized. I have seen many ads over the years for a free trip, shotgun or rifle in exchange for making a certain size deposit. I see nothing wrong with it.