Voters to decide state, local amendments

The Texas Constitution as we know it today took effect in 1876, and since then, it has been amended hundreds of times â?? 474 times, to be exact.

And this year, the state legislature is proposing nine amendments, including Proposition 1, which allows property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of service men and women killed in action.

Proposition 6 would set aside $2 billion from the stateâ??s Rainy Day Fund to finance various water development projects across the state.

The Texas Water Development Board is the authority for water project funding in the state, and according to their 2012 plan, 8.3 million acre-feet of additional water will be needed by 2060. So their plan recommends 562 projects across the state to provide an estimated 9 million acre-feet by then.

On a local level, the City of Amarillo is proposing 21 amendments to the city charter, which was written in 1913 and hasnâ??t been updated since.

"It's been a hundred years,â?? says City Attorney Marcus Norris, â??there have been many changes to state and federal law that render parts of our charter outdated or just inconsistent or difficult to reconcile with current laws."

Most of the proposed amendments just bring the charter up to date from a legal standpoint, but a few are a little more interesting â?? Prop. 1 streamlines the annexation process to allow for future growth, Prop. 15 sets a time limit for petitions, and Prop. 8 would remove the $250 cap on emergency expenditures.

"You know, in 1913, $250 was a whole lot more money than it is today, and the current charter written in that time period limits the city manager to $250 for an emergency expenditure,â?? explains Norris, â??well, anyone who's had car wreck knows that hardly pays for one half of a bumper."

A third key item is the $31.5 million bond election for the proposed Amarillo Recreation Complex in southeast Amarillo.

Early voting starts October 21, and runs through November 1. The regular election will take place the following Tuesday on November 5.

If you'd like to learn more about both the state and local amendments and when and where you can vote, follow the links attached to this story.