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Texas Proposition 11 (2007)

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Texas Proposition 11 appeared on the November 6, 2007 in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

Proposition 11 would require that a record vote be take by the House on the final passage of any bill or resolution proposing or ratifying a constitutional amendment, or any other non ceremonial resolution and to provide public access on the internet to record the votes.[1] It would would mean a recorded vote on the final passage of a bill. Each members vote would be recorded and posted on the internet for two years. The public would have access to the vote by searching the number of subject of the bill.

Proposition 11 appeared on the statewide November 2007 ballot in Texas along with fifteen other statewide propositions; all of them passed. All sixteen ballot measures were legislative referrals voted onto the ballot by the Texas State Legislature.

Election results

Texas Proposition 11 (2007)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 893,686 84.5%
No163,55315.5%

Statement of Support

Supporters of Proposition 11 would allow for true government transparency.

  • Hold legislators accountable for their votes
  • Texas is 1 on 10 states that does not require record votes on final passage of legislation
  • Members should be required to affirmatively vote one way or another rather than hiding behind the "voice vote" provision

Newspapers

Dallas Morning News

  • " Voting yes would allow veterans who suffer from severe disabilities to get an exemption from their property taxes. We say vote yes."[2]

The Houston Courier[3]
Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas

  • "Accountability is the core value of our representative democracy, and recorded votes will allow us to check up on our representatives. We'll be able to make sure that what they do in Austin is what they promised us back home," said Wanda Garner Cash, past president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.[4]

Texas Daily Newspaper Association

Other Support

Statement of Opposition

Opponents of the proposition believe it would be an unnecessary hassle for the legislature.

  • Votes are already recorded in a journal that is available to the public.
  • Believe it would create a time-consuming logistical burden for future legislatures

Newspapers

Austin Chronicle

  • "This is a pointless exercise in the pretense of democracy, recording the least meaningful legislative votes so the state dailies can claim victory in a children's crusade and the officeholders can claim virtue, like public-praying pharisees."[6]

A Taxpayer's Perspective

Proposition 11 would stipulate that each vote on the final passage of most bills must be recorded and made publicly available on the Internet for a minimum of two years.

Other suggestion

Record the votes on the second reading instead of the third. This is the stage where amendments can be adopted with a simple majority rather than the 2/3 votes required at the third reading. Therefore the second reading is when the most debate happens and would allow for greater transparency.

Text of measure

The short ballot summary voters saw on their ballot read: "The constitutional amendment to require that a record vote be taken by a house of the legislature on final passage of any bill, other than certain local bills, of a resolution proposing or ratifying a constitutional amendment, or of any other nonceremonial resolution, and to provide for public access on the Internet to those record votes."[7]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

As laid out in Article 17 of the Texas Constitution, in order for a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot, the Texas State Legislature must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate. The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.

See also

Texas Initiatives 2007

External links

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References