Texas voters to decide constitutional amendment related to conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County in November

The Texas State Legislature took the final vote to send a constitutional amendment to the Nov. 2023 ballot on April 25. The measure would amend section 59 of Article XVI of the state constitution to authorize the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds to fund parks and recreational facilities and levy property taxes to repay the bonds.

The state constitution currently authorizes conservation and reclamation districts in the counties of Bexar, Bastrop, Waller, Travis, Williamson, Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Montgomery, as well as the Tarrant Regional Water District, to issue bonds repaid by property taxes. The section of the constitution that would be amended was added in 2003 with the approval of Proposition 4. It authorized the existing list of counties to issue debt for projects in conservation and reclamation districts. It was approved with 56.4% of the vote.

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a two-thirds (66.67%) vote is required in both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives.

This amendment was introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 32 on January 20, 2023. On April 11, 2023, the state Senate passed SJR 32 by a vote of 28-3. On April 25, the state House passed SJR 32 by a vote of 111-34 with five not voting.

Between 1995 and 2021, Texans decided on 175 statewide ballot measures appearing on odd-numbered year ballots. Voters approved 160 measures and defeated 15. An average of 12 measures appeared on odd-numbered year statewide ballots.

Additional reading: Texas 2023 ballot measures