Tagballot measures

Initiated amendment to expand Medicaid to appear on South Dakota November 2022 ballot

On January 3, 2021, the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office announced that an initiative to expand Medicaid qualified for the November 2022 ballot with 38,244 signatures deemed to be valid. South Dakotans Decide Healthcare reported submitting 47,000 signatures for the initiated constitutional amendment on November 8, 2021. To qualify for the ballot, 33,921 valid signatures were required.

The measure, Constitutional Amendment D, would amend the constitution to require the state to provide Medicaid benefits to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level. Because the Affordable Care Act includes a 5% income disregard, this measure would effectively expand Medicaid to those with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level.

The measure is supported by the South Dakota State Medical Association, South Dakota Nurses Association, South Dakota Education Association, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, South Dakota AARP, and more.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The ACA provided for the expansion of Medicaid to cover all individuals earning incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounted to $17,774 for an individual and $36,570 for a family of four in 2021. The law was designed to provide 100 percent of funding to cover the new recipients for the first three years and to cut off federal Medicaid funding to states that chose not to expand coverage. However, the United States Supreme Court ruled in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012) that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funds from states that chose not to expand eligibility. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, this ruling had the practical effect of making Medicaid expansion optional for states.

From 2014 to 2016, the federal government covered 100 percent of the costs of state expansion of Medicaid. In 2017, the total cost of expanded coverage that the federal government financed decreased to 95 percent. The ACA was designed to decrease the amount the federal government covers to 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019, and 90 percent in 2020 and subsequent years.

The Affordable Care Act had not provided tax credits to adults with household incomes less than the federal poverty line because the law had aimed to cover these people under Medicaid. In states that did not expand Medicaid, many of these adults fell into a coverage gap in which they neither qualified for Medicaid nor for federal tax credits to purchase health insurance. As of 2018, around 2.5 million people fell into this coverage gap across the states that did not expand Medicaid.

To date, 38 states and Washington, D.C., have expanded Medicaid (six through ballot measures) while 12 states had not expanded Medicaid. Of the seven Medicaid expansion measures, six were approved (Maine, Utah, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Missouri) and one (Montana) was defeated. The Montana measure combined Medicaid expansion with a tobacco tax increase.

Constitutional Amendment C will appear on the South Dakota June 7 primary election ballot. The amendment, which was referred to the ballot by the state legislature, would require a three-fifths vote of approval for any ballot measures that increase taxes or fees or that would require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years. If Amendment C is approved by voters in June, the Medicaid expansion initiative on the November ballot would need to be approved by 60% of voters. As of 2021, ballot measures in South Dakota required a simple majority vote (50%+1) to be adopted.

A total of 67 measures appeared on statewide ballots from 2000 through 2020 in South Dakota. Of the total, 43% (29 of 67) were approved, and about 57% (38 of 67) were defeated. One measure was approved by voters but subsequently overturned by the courts, and a 2016 measure was approved but then repealed by the state legislature.

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Signature deadline for Washington 2022 Initiatives to the Legislature passes with no campaigns submitting signatures

The signature deadline for 2022 Washington Initiatives to the Legislature (ITL) was December 30, 2021. For an ITL to be taken up by the Washington State Legislature and potentially put on the ballot in 2022, proponents needed to submit 324,516 valid signatures.

Citizens of Washington may initiate legislation as either a direct state statute—called Initiative to the People (ITP) in Washington—or indirect state statute—called Initiative to the Legislature (ITL) in Washington. In Washington, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. Citizens may not initiate constitutional amendments.

A total of 133 ITLs were filed by nine sponsors. None of the campaigns submitted signatures by the deadline. The filed initiatives concerned a range of topics including taxes, prohibiting mandatory vaccinations, emergency powers of the governor, and healthcare.

If campaigns submit enough valid signatures for an ITL, the initiative goes before the Washington Legislature at the next regular legislative session in January. The legislature must take one of three actions.

1. The legislature can adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law without a vote of the people.

2. The legislature can reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative, in which case the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

3. The legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the legislature’s alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

Thirty-four Initiatives to the Legislature have been on the ballot since the first ITL in 1916; 18 were approved. The most recent ITL, Initiative 976, was on the ballot in 2019. It was approved but later invalidated by the Washington State Supreme Court.

Besides Initiatives to the Legislature, Washington citizens may sign petitions for Initiatives to the People. These initiatives are direct initiatives, meaning that if enough valid signatures are collected, election officials place the measure directly on the next general election ballot for a vote. Initiatives to the People (ITP) may be filed targeting the 2022 ballot with a signature due date of July 8, 2022.

The number of required signatures for 2022 Initiatives to the People and veto referendums is based on the number of votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in 2020. To qualify an ITP or ITL for the 2022 ballot, 324,516 valid signatures are required. For veto referendums, signatures must be filed with the secretary of state within 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session at which the targeted legislation was passed. To qualify a veto referendum for the 2022 ballot, 162,258 valid signatures are required.

A total of 66 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Washington during even years between 2000 and 2021. Of the 66 measures, 54.55% (36) were approved and 45.45% (30) were defeated.

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Voters in seven states decided on 24 constitutional amendments in 2021, adopting 16 of them

Every state but Delaware requires voters to ratify proposed changes to a state’s constitution.

There are four ways that proposed constitutional amendments can be proposed and put on the ballot:

  1. Through legislatively referred constitutional amendments.
  2. Through citizen-initiated constitutional amendments put on the ballot through signature petition drives. Eighteen states allow this method of amendment.
  3. Through referral by constitutional conventions. In some states, automatic ballot referrals allow voters to decide at regular intervals whether or not to hold a convention.
  4. In Florida, there is a commission-referred amendment process through the Constitution Revision Commission that meets every 20 years. It last met in 2018.

From 2006 through 2021 a total of 1,040 constitutional amendments were proposed and put before voters. This data only includes constitutional amendments put on the ballot for a statewide vote. It does not include certain state constitutional amendments that only apply to local jurisdictions and were voted on only by residents of particular local jurisdictions. It also does not include constitutional amendments in Delaware that weren’t subject to voter ratification. Of this total, voters approved 749 (72%) proposed changes to state constitutions.

In 2021, voters in seven states decided 24 constitutional amendments. Of the 24 proposed amendments, state legislatures referred 23 to the ballot, and a signature petition drive was used to initiate one in Colorado. Of the 24 amendments, 16 (66.66%) were approved. The seven states with constitutional amendments in 2021 were:

  1. Colorado – 1
  2. Louisiana – 4
  3. Maine – 1
  4. New Jersey – 2
  5. New York – 4
  6. Pennsylvania – 3
  7. Texas – 8

Below are some of the notable amendments approved in 2021:

  1. Maine voters enacted a first-of-its-kind constitutional right to produce, harvest, and consume food.
  2. New York voters enacted a constitutional right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment.
  3. Pennsylvania voters approved two amendments providing limits to and giving the legislature additional authority over the governor’s emergency declaration powers. Both were put on the ballot in response to conflict over responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Texas voters also approved two constitutional amendments in response to COVID-19: an amendment to prohibit the state or any political subdivision from enacting a law, rule, order, or proclamation that limits religious services or organizations; and an amendment creating a constitutional right for residents of nursing homes to designate an essential caregiver that may not be prohibited from visiting the resident.

Statistically, from 2006 through 2021, odd-year election cycles featured a higher approval rate for proposed constitutional amendments than even years. The average number of statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot in an odd-numbered year was 21, with an average approval rate of 81.10%. In even-numbered years, an average of 109 statewide constitutional amendments were on the ballot with an average approval rate of 70.27%.

Among states with a process for initiated constitutional amendments, Florida and Colorado featured the most proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot from 2006 through 2021, with a total of 56 and 53, respectively. Of that total, Florida voters approved 37, and Colorado voters approved 21. Among all 50 states, Louisiana featured the most proposed constitutional amendments (108) and the most approved amendments (77).

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State signature deadline for Massachusetts 2022 initiatives was Wednesday

Three initiative campaigns submitted more than the required number of validated signatures (80,239) to the Massachusetts secretary of state on Dec. 1. This means that the initiatives will go to the Massachusetts General Court. If the general court does not enact the initiatives, a smaller second round of signatures will be required to put the measures on the 2022 ballot.

The preliminary deadline to submit signatures for verification to local registrars before submitting them to the secretary of state was Nov. 17.

One initiative would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors and enact several labor policies related to app-based companies. One initiative would incrementally increase the number of alcohol licenses an establishment could hold and prohibit self-checkout sales of alcohol. The third initiative would enact a medical loss ratio for dental benefit plans of 83%.

Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work is sponsoring the app-based drivers initiative and reported submitting over 130,000 signatures to local registrars. The final number of certified signatures submitted to the secretary of state on Wednesday is unknown.

The Massachusetts Package Stores Association (MPSA) is sponsoring the alcohol retail licensing initiative and reported submitting 109,000 certified signatures to the secretary of state.

Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah filed the dental medical loss ratio question and reported submitting 104,000 validated signatures to the secretary of state. 

The power of initiative is indirect in Massachusetts, which means the Massachusetts General Court must consider any successful initiative petitions.

Once enough valid signatures are submitted, proposed statutory initiatives are presented to the legislature. Statutes may be adopted by the legislature by a majority vote in both houses. If a statute proposed by a valid initiative petition is not adopted, proponents must collect another, smaller round of signatures to place the initiative on the ballot. For the first round of signatures, the required number is equal to 3% of the votes cast for governor or 80,239 signatures. The second round total is equal to 0.5% of the votes cast for governor or 13,374 signatures.

Once the secretary of state certifies the initiative petitions to the state legislature, they have until May 4, 2022, to pass them or send them to the 2022 ballot. The deadline for the second round of signatures would be July 6, 2022.

Between 2016 and 2021, 109 initiatives were filed in Massachusetts. Of that total, 72 were cleared for circulation, and nine were certified for the ballot.

Campaign behind initiative in Mass. to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors submits 260,000 signatures to county administrators

On Nov. 16, the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work announced that they had submitted a total of 260,000 signatures to local clerks in their bid to place a ballot initiative on the 2022 ballot that was modeled after 2020’s California Proposition 22. The total number of signatures is split between two different versions of the initiative. The initiative would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors,

In Massachusetts, citizen-initiated laws are indirect ballot initiatives meaning they can be enacted by the state legislature or be sent to the ballot. For the 2022 ballot, initiative campaigns are required to submit an initial round of signatures equal to 3% of the votes cast for governor (80,239 signatures) to local registrars on Nov. 17 before submitting the petition to the secretary of state on Dec. 1. If enough signatures are submitted in the first round, the legislature must act on a successful petition by the first Wednesday of May. The measure goes on the ballot if the legislature does not pass it and if a second round of signatures is successfully collected. The second round of signatures equals 0.5% of the votes cast for governor (13,374 signatures) and is due July 6, 2022.

The ballot initiative would define app-based drivers as independent contractors if they meet the following criteria:

  1. couriers of a delivery network company (DNC) or drivers of a transportation network company (TNC),
  2. companies that do not prescribe the time and days worked by the courier or driver,
  3. contractors with DNC or TNC that cannot be terminated for rejecting service or delivery requests, and
  4. couriers and drivers that are not captive to any specific DNC or TNC and are not restricted from performing other work.

Examples of companies that hire app-based drivers include Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.

The initiative would also enact labor and wage policies that are specific to app-based drivers and companies. These policies would include a net earnings floor, healthcare subsidies, paid family and medical leave, and paid sick time. Version A of the initiative would also require paid occupational safety training that would include:

  1. recognizing and preventing sexual assault or misconduct,
  2. learning collision avoidance and defensive driving techniques, and
  3. maintaining food safety for grocery or meal deliveries.

Supporters of the initiative include the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), DoorDash, InstaCart, Lyft, Massachusetts High Technology Council, Postmates, and Uber.

Prossie Namanda, a Massachusetts Instacart shopper, said, “It feels incredible to have this level of support from voters across the state. As a single mother doing this work, I’m so excited to see this progress and am grateful that people in Massachusetts recognize that drivers and shoppers should have the flexibility we want and need, with access to more benefits too.”

Opponents of the initiative include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), NAACP New England Area Conference, ACLU Massachusetts, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and SEIU-Massachusetts.

Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, said, “Big Tech should follow the same laws as everyone else, pay their taxes, contribute to Social Security, and treat their workers with basic fairness.”

In 2020, California voters approved a similar initiative, Proposition 22, by a margin of 58.6% to 41.4%. It was the most expensive ballot measure campaign in California’s history according to available records with the support campaign receiving over $200 million in contributions, including donations from Uber, Doordash, Lyft, InstaCart, and Postmates. On Aug. 20, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled that two sections of Proposition 22 were unconstitutional and that the measure as a whole was unenforceable. Proponents announced that they would appeal the ruling.

In September, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) announced that 17 ballot initiatives of the 30 filed in 2021 were cleared for signature gathering. The 17 initiatives included 16 initiated state statutes for the 2022 ballot and one initiated constitutional amendment that would appear on the 2024 ballot. 

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Tucson voters approve increasing the local minimum wage to $15 by 2025

On Nov. 2, Tucson voters approved Proposition 206, an initiative designed to incrementally increase the local minimum wage to $15 by 2025, and tie it to inflation thereafter. According to unofficial election results, 65% of voters approved Proposition 206. Currently, the minimum wage is $12.15.

The minimum wage will increase by the following increments:

  • $13 by April 1, 2022,
  • $13.50 by Jan. 1, 2023,
  • $14.25 by Jan. 1, 2024,
  • $15.00 by Jan. 1, 2025, and
  • increased by the rate of inflation rounded to the nearest multiple of $0.05 every January thereafter.

The initiative also requires the city to establish a Department of Labor Standards by April 1, 2022. The department was authorized to receive complaints from employees, investigate employers, and educate workers about their rights under the initiative. 

Tucson Fight for $15 sponsored the initiative. They wrote on their Facebook page, “Last night workers won! Approximately 44,000 Tucsonans voted ‘YES’ on Prop 206. This proposition not only increases Tucson’s minimum wage, but also fights against wage theft and adopts fairer payment policies.”

Opponents of the measure included Tucson Business Owners, Arizona Restaurant Association, Tucson Metro Chamber, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities.

Tucson voters also decided on Proposition 410, which was designed to increase the compensation for the mayor from $42,000 to $54,000 and the compensation for city council members from $24,000 to $36,000 beginning on December 4, 2023, and tying the compensation to inflation for every following year. As of Thursday, the measure was ahead by 50.1% (33,893) to 49.9% (33,740) and is too close to call. Since 1999 when the existing compensation was set, Tucson voters have defeated eight measures to increase it.

Maine transmission line company files lawsuit over constitutionality of Question 1

Voters in Maine approved Question 1 on November 2. The citizen-initiated ballot measure received 59% of the vote with 97% of precincts reporting. Question 1 was designed to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. Construction of NECEC began after the project received a presidential permit on January 15, 2021. The ballot initiative prohibited the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region, retroactive to September 16, 2020, thus prohibiting Segment 1 of NECEC. Segment 1 was permitted to begin construction on May 13, 2021.

NECEC, LLC, along with parent firm Avangrid Networks, LLC, filed a lawsuit on November 3, stating that Question 1 was unconstitutional. NECEC and Avangrid argued that Question 1 violated the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches; infringed upon the sanctity of contracts; and violated the company’s vested right to construct and complete the project in good faith. The lawsuit stated, “Any other conclusion would render any major development project in the State – in fact, any effort by any person or business in the State to build any project, no matter how big or how small – vulnerable to discriminatory and prejudicial efforts to kill the project by after-the-fact changes to the law. Such retroactive deprivation of vested rights is contrary to the fundamental principles of fairness and equity embodied in Maine law.”

Sandra Howard, director of No CMP Corridor, responded, “Despite an onslaught of money that CMP, Hydro Quebec and their assortment of front groups interjected into this campaign, the people of Maine strongly and clearly rejected the NECEC project at the ballot box. CMP should respect the vote of Maine citizens and immediately stop the continued destruction of our precious forest and its habitat.”

Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure in Maine history. Between supporters and opponents, $98.41 million was raised. The PACs No CMP Corridor, Mainers for Local Power, and NRCM Yes on Question 1 registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $27.64 million, including

  • $20.20 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine;
  • $3.61 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and
  • $3.26 million from Calpine Corp., which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine.

Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, and Mainers for Fair Laws were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $70.77 million, including

  • $48.45 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and
  • $19.94 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which was a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec.

Maine voters approve ballot measures, including transmission corridor initiative and right to food amendment

Voters in Maine approved each of the three measures on the ballot for Nov. 2, 2021.  As of 8:30am EST on Wednesday, 89% of precincts had reported results. Question 1 received 59% of the vote. It was designed to prohibit the construction of electric transmission lines defined as high-impact in the Upper Kennebec Region, including the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). Question 2 received 72% of the vote. It authorized $100 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure projects. Question 3 received 61% of the vote. It established a state right to growing, raising, harvesting, and producing food, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching, or abuses to private land, public land, or natural resources.

Question 1 prohibited the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region, retroactive to Sept. 16, 2020, thus prohibiting Segment 1 of NECEC. Segment 1 was permitted to begin construction on May 13, 2021. The NECEC is a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. The ballot initiative also required a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve high-impact electric transmission lines. 

Question 1 saw $98.41 million raised between supporters and opponents. According to the Bangor Daily News, Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure in Maine history, and the second most expensive political election after the $200 million U.S. Senate race in 2020.

No CMP Corridor led the campaign in support of Question 1. The PACs Mainers for Local Power and NRCM Yes on Question 1 were also registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $27.64 million, including $20.20 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine; $3.61 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and $3.26 million from Calpine Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine.

Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, and Mainers for Fair Laws were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $70.77 million, including $48.45 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and $19.94 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which was a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec.

Question 1 had the support of the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Sierra Club Maine, along with Calpine Corp., NextEra Energy Resources, and Vistra Energy Corp. Question 1 was opposed by Gov. Janet Mills (D), former Gov. Paul LePage (R), U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and the supporting companies.

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New Yorkers reject redistricting and voting ballot measures, approve environmental rights amendment

On November 2, voters in New York passed two constitutional amendments and rejected three.  The approved measures were Proposal 2, an environmental rights amendment, and Proposal 5, a judicial measure. Voters rejected Proposal 1 concerning redistricting processes and Proposal 3 and Proposal 4, which would have allowed for same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Proposal 2 received 68.9% of the vote. Proposal 2 added a right to clean water, clean air, and a healthful environment to the New York Constitution’s Bill of Rights. As of 2021, at least six state constitutions included language on environmental rights, including neighboring Pennsylvania. 

Proposal 5 received 62.9% of the vote. It allowed the New York City Civil Court to hear and decide lawsuits involving claims of $50,000, rather than the current threshold of $25,000. The New York City Civil Court is a trial court with jurisdiction in New York City. The NYC Civil Court’s original jurisdiction was on claims of $10,000 or less. Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1983 that increased the court’s jurisdiction from $10,000 to $25,000. In 1995, voters rejected a constitutional amendment to increase the NYC Civil Court claims jurisdiction from $25,000 to $50,000.

Proposal 3 and Proposal 4 addressed voting policies and were rejected by 57.7% and 55.8% of voters, respectively, according to results on election night. Proposal 3 would have removed the requirement that persons must register to vote at least ten days before an election, thus authorizing the state legislature to pass a statute for a requirement of fewer than 10 days, such as same-day voter registration. Proposal 4 would have authorized the state legislature to pass a statute for no-excuse absentee voting.

Proposal 1 would have made several changes to redistricting in New York. With 99% of precincts reporting, 55.8% voted “No” on Proposal 1. The constitutional amendment would have changed the vote thresholds for adopting redistricting plans when one political party controls both legislative chambers. It would have also

  1. required that incarcerated persons be counted at the place of their last residence for redistricting;
  2. required the state to count residents, including people who are residents but not citizens, should the federal census fail to do so;
  3. removed the block-on-border requirement for Senate districts;
  4. capped the number of state senators at 63; and
  5. moved up the timeline for redistricting and repealed inoperative language.

Between 1995 and 2020, New York voters addressed 25 constitutional amendments, approving 19 (76%) of them. At the 2021 election, voters approved 2 of 5 amendments or 40%. 

Texas voters to decide on an increase to the homestead exemption from school district property taxes in May 2022

On Oct. 18, the Texas State Legislature voted to refer to the ballot a constitutional amendment that would increase the homestead exemption for school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. Voters will decide the measure on the May 2022 ballot. It would take effect for the 2022 tax year. The Legislative Budget Board estimated that the increase would cost the state $355 million in fiscal year 2023.

The amendment was filed as Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR 2) on Oct. 18, the last day of the legislature’s third special session this year. It was approved by both chambers unanimously. The enabling legislation, Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), also received final approval on the last day of the session.

State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R), the author of the amendment, said, “People see the need for property tax relief, and Texans are going to cry out for that continuously. This is a great way to bring that home to all of the taxpayers of Texas.”

Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner (D) said, “Texas House Democrats have been fighting for an increase in the homestead exemption for decades. While Republicans pushed for property tax rate cuts that largely benefit corporations, we have championed legislation that puts money directly into Texas homeowners’ pockets. Today, our longstanding efforts pay off under SJR 2. We are grateful our Republican colleagues have joined us to provide meaningful property tax relief to Texas homeowners.”

Texas voters last approved an increase to the homestead tax exemption in 2015 with the passage of Proposition 1. The amendment increased the exemption from $15,000 to $25,000. It was approved by a margin of 86.4% to 13.6%.

This was the second amendment the legislature referred to the ballot for the election on May 7, 2022. Texas voters will also decide on an amendment that would authorize the state legislature to reduce the limitation on total ad valorem taxes imposed on the homesteads of elderly or disabled residents for school maintenance and operations to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year. The two ballot measures are the first to be featured on an even-numbered year statewide ballot since 2014. Between 1985 and 2020, 10 ballot measures have appeared on even-numbered year Texas ballots compared to 251 ballot measures on odd-numbered year statewide ballots during that same period.

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