On November 3rd, voters in New York passed Proposal 1-Constitutional Amendment, an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution, in relation to the use of certain forest preserve lands by National Grid to construct a 46 kV power line along State Route 56 in St. Lawrence County. The bill authorizes the Legislature to convey up to six acres of forest preserve land along State Route 56 in St. Lawrence County to National Grid for construction of a power line. In exchange, National Grid will convey to the State at least 10 acres of forest land in St. Lawrence County, to be incorporated into the forest preserve. The land to be conveyed by National Grid to the State must be at least equal in value to the land conveyed to National Grid by the State.
The ballot measure passed with a necessary two-thirds majority vote. For a detailed reading of Proposal 1, visit the official elections page of the state of New York by clicking here.
Proposition 1 passed on November 3rd. This constitutional amendment authorizes the financing, including through tax increment financing, of the acquisition by municipalities and counties of buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to a military installation for the prevention of encroachment or for the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation.
According to the Texas House Research Organization, supporters of the amendment say that Proposition 1 is necessary to grant clear, specific authorization for cities and counties to use bonds or notes to buy land to create buffer areas around military installations. In addition they argue that this amendment allows local communities to address a growing need to protect military establishments. Conversely, opponents of Proposition 1 argue that while protecting military bases is a worthy goal, cities and counties should not be given another reason to increase property taxes.
Proposition 3 was also passed on November 3rd, allowing state enforcement of uniform property appraisal standards and procedures. The ballot measure amends the constitution to require the legislature to provide for the administration and enforcement of uniform standards and procedures for appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes.
Proposition 3 removes the current constitutional requirement that administrative and judicial enforcement of uniform standards and procedures for property appraisal originate in the county where the tax is imposed. For more information on Proposition 3, visit the Texas House Research Organization.
Proposition 5 was passed in Texas on November 3rd. The constitutional amendment authorizes the legislature to authorize a single board of equalization for two or more adjoining appraisal entities that elect to provide for consolidated equalizations.
According to the Texas House Research Organization, Proposition 5 would amend Texas Constitution, Article 8, section 18(c) to allow two or more adjoining appraisal districts to form a single consolidated board of equalization or appraisal review board. The ballot proposal reads:
- "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to authorize a single board of equalization for two or more adjoining appraisal entities that elect to provide for consolidated equalizations."
Supporters say that Proposition 5 would authorize the Legislature to allow adjoining counties to form consolidated appraisal review boards, which could operate more efficiently than separate boards. They also argue that having fully staffed and qualified appraisal review boards would help ensure a more professional, equitable, and timely appraisal review process.
However, opponents of the amendment claim that only residents of an appraisal district should decide appeals of appraisals of property located in that district, local appraisal review boards know their county markets and local economic realities, and bringing in outsiders from another county could result in a loss of local control of a local issue.
Proposition 9 passed November 3rd, a constitutional amendment to protect the right of the public, individually and collectively, to access and use the public beaches bordering the seaward shore of the Gulf of Mexico. The bill, HJR 102, grants the public an unrestricted right to use a public beach. The amendment authorizes the legislature to enact laws to protect these rights.
For detailed readings of all 2009 ballot measures and amendments in Texas, please visit the Texas House Research Organization.
-Stefan Johansson, Research