Texas: 9 amendments pass, including state park funding

A Texas constitutional amendment closing a loophole in a 1993 law to ensure sporting goods sales taxes went to parks and wildlife passed by a huge margin November 5.

Eighty-eight percent of Texans voting in the state constitutional amendment election approved Proposition 5, which ensures those taxes go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

In 1993, the state passed a law that allowed up to 94 percent of sporting goods sales taxes to go to the parks and wildlife department and 6 percent to go to the historical commission. However, since the law passed, only about 40 percent has gone to the department and commission with the rest going toward balancing the state budget.

Texans also approved Proposition 4, which ups the number of state lawmakers required to pass a personal income tax. The law initially required voters approve one via a statewide referendum. To get it before voters, it required a simple majority in the Texas House and Senate.

With Proposition 4 in place, two-thirds of both the House and Senate are now required to approve the referendum before it can go to voters.

The proposition that garnered the highest level of support was Proposition 10. Ninety-four percent of voters approved allowing handlers or other qualified caretakers adopt retired law enforcement animals such as dogs and horses.

Before the passage of Proposition 10, retired law enforcement animals were considered “surplus government property” and had to be auctioned off or destroyed.

Former handlers or qualified caretakers can now adopt retired law enforcement animals without a fee.

The only proposition that failed was Proposition 1, which allowed some municipal court judges to serve multiple municipalities at one time. The law already allows municipal judges who are appointed to serve in one or more jurisdictions, while Proposition 1 would have extended it to also include elected municipal judges.

editor@thepicayune.com

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