Thursday, October 13, 2011


Most political elections in this country are decided by less than a majority of eligible voters. One example is the 2010 General Election where in Texas 32.3% of the eligible voters decided who won. That means 67.7% of the eligible voters had no voice in their government. Remember we are talking "eligible" voters. There are lots of folks who unfortunately do not even register to vote.

Now, if you think that is low voter turnout I would certainly agree with you. However, Constitutional Elections are notorious for low voter turnout. The Constitutional Election in November, 2009 had a turnout, are you ready for this, of 8.18%. There ought to be a law, and if you do not take the time to vote on the upcoming proposed constitutional amendments there
in fact could be several new laws.

There are a total of ten proposed amendments to our state constitution. Those that are passed by the voters will become the law of the land. You need to study the proposals and decided on your position as to the positive or negative effects it could have on Milam County and Texas.

Constitutional elections can be very confusing. Take for instance Amendment 7 is to be voted on by the entire state, but will only affect El Paso County. So why does the entire state vote on it? It takes a vote of the entire state to change the state constitution even if it will only affect one county.

Amendment 1 if passed could provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the residence of a widow of a 100% or totally disabled veteran. Amendment 8 also relates to creating another ad valorem tax exemption.

While property tax exemptions might sound good remember that those taxes exempted have to be made up somewhere. That somewhere is those of us that do not qualify for the new exemption.

Amendment 10 relates to the resign to run rule. Currently the state constitution provides that an elected office holder at the county level automatically resigns from their office if they announce their intention to run for another office with a year or more remaining in their current term.

During the last legislative session Austin changed the filing dates from December 1st to January 2nd to November 12th through December 12th for the upcoming political season. Basically this means if say a Milam County Constable wanted to run for Sheriff he would have to file with more than 365 days left in his term and as a result of filing for another office automatically resign from the current office.

Amendment 10 will change the constitution and provide for lengthening the time that results in an automatic resignation. Instead of one year this proposed amendment will change the time periods to one year and thirty days. It is also interesting to note that the amendment will take effect if passed by the voters in time to apply to the upcoming political season.

Too bad the resign to run rule law does not apply to the Governors office. Just think how much money we Texas tax payers could be saving on security costs we are paying while Rick runs for president.

Of course Mr. Transparency in Government Perry lobbied hard during the last special session this summer to make sure we would not know the cost to Texas for his political ambitions till after the presidential race is over. He managed to get a bill passed that would keep financial information related to his security from the public for 18 months. Government transparency? Really?

Point is folks you really need to brush up on the proposed amendments for the November 8th election. You need to let your friends know that they too need to cast their votes on November 8th. The upcoming vote may well be more important than the candidate races in that you get a chance to vote against the person next time around. An amendment to the constitution is much harder to come by and you might not get a second chance to change the law.

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