Local lawmaker rallies support for constitutional amendments

  1. New Hidalgo County Voting Machines Ready for Election

McALLEN — With first responders, city officials and other law enforcement in attendance, state Rep. Bobby Guerra urged voters to pass two Texas constitutional amendments he supported during this past legislative session.

“Two of these measures I have supported and would like all voters to be aware of, and I think would have a tremendous impact on Texas and Texans,” Guerra said during a news conference on Thursday.

Held in front of the Lark Community Center in McAllen, Guerra, who supports both Propositions 1 and 6, said at the news conference that he wanted to remind voters about the amendments that are designed to help veterans and first responders.

Guerra said Proposition 1 will help correct an “oversight” so veterans who are partially disabled can receive a homestead exemption. This property tax exemption would be specific for veterans whose homes may have been donated in part through a charity group, with the other portion of the home paid for by the veteran himself.

Currently, veterans who pay a partial amount on their donated home still have to pay property taxes on their property. Veterans who receive a fully donated home already receive the homestead exemption.

“By supporting Prop 1, we will be able to correct this oversight, and ensure that these brave men and women receive the homestead exemption they so desperately deserve,” Guerra said.

Speaking in support of the propositions was a local Army veteran, Master Sgt. Joe Salas of McAllen.

“For the veterans here in McAllen, many of our veterans who have come back from a combat zone, or maybe injured in training, become disabled,” Salas said. “It is important that we look at this proposition and pass it, because these veterans do need the support, especially for the spouse and families of these veterans.”

Also in attendance was McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez, Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra and McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.

The state representative said it was important for him to make voters aware of the propositions because voters historically do not come out in big numbers during non-gubernatorial and non-presidential elections.

Proposition 6 is designed to financially support the families of first responders, officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who die while on duty.

Darling, who also supports the propositions, said he hoped voters would pass the amendments.

“It’s important that we get people out to vote for this,” Darling said. “I was looking at (Proposition 6) and I was praying to God that we never ever have to use it in our city or our state. But if we had to, unfortunately, it’s important we recognize that, especially when we lose a first responder.”

Rodriguez called the proposition a “partial” benefit for the families of those first responders and all those classified as such — calling the move by Texas “a signal” that the legislature supports law enforcement.

The Texas Secretary of State explains the following on its website for this proposition as well as for Propositions 2 through 5 as well as 7.

Proposition 2:

“The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.”

Proposition 3:

“The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person’s term of office.”

Proposition 4:

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.”

Proposition 5:

“The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.”

Proposition 7:

“The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.”