Texans vote on 8 constitutional amendments Tuesday – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At the start of the pandemic, churches limited services to virtual worship. There were no large in-person gatherings.
Now Proposition 3 could prevent that from happening again in Texas.
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In the last legislative session, lawyer Jeremy Dys of the First Liberty Institute testified about the effect of the pandemic on the places of worship he represents.
“State and local officials across the country have hampered the rights of these places of worship across the country to be able to carry out their mission during a time of pandemic that was critical,” he said. “In North Texas, we had churches that couldn’t even distribute food to people who were hungry during the pandemic because local officials said it could cause a problem. “
If approved, Proposition 3 would prevent state or local governments from banning or limiting religious services, even in a public health emergency.
“I would be very concerned about something that has no exceptions or restrictions in these settings,” said Dallas County Health Director Dr. Phillip Huang.
Huang said when it comes to the pandemic, it’s unclear what the future holds and warns that places of worship may be super broadcast events.
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“It may be necessary to make certain limitations to prevent the spread of communicable diseases,” he said.
In addition, on the ballot paper is proposition 6.
If approved, it will allow nursing homes to designate someone who cannot be refused an in-person visit to a loved one, even in a public health emergency.
“This person who could be nominated could be a carrier of a communicable disease, be contagious, so again, I think this is of great concern,” Huang said.
Supporters say this type of isolation can have a devastating impact on a person’s mental and physical health and say it’s something no one should have to experience.
Voters will also consider the following proposals:
• Proposal 1 would add rodeos to the list of professional sporting events that can hold raffles to raise funds for charity.
• Proposal 2 would allow counties to pay for transportation needs in dilapidated or underdeveloped areas by taking advantage of rising property values - caused by road projects – to pay off transportation debt.
• Proposition 4 would change the eligibility requirements to sit on the Supreme Court of Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals and Intermediate Courts of Appeal – specifying that applicants must be a practicing attorney or judge in Texas for at least 10 years under a license in law that had not been revoked or suspended.
The amendment would also require judges in state district courts to have served as attorneys or judges in Texas for eight years, also under a legal license that had not been revoked or suspended.
• Proposal 5 would allow the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which investigates and takes disciplinary action against judges at all levels, to also accept complaints against judicial candidates.
• Proposition 7 would allow disability-based property tax exemptions to continue for surviving spouses who are 55 years of age or older when their disabled spouse dies.
• Proposal 8 would extend property tax breaks – already available for the spouse of a serviceman killed in action – to the spouses of soldiers who have been killed in the line of duty but not in combat.
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Erin Jones contributed to this report.