Texas Automatic Resignation Term Length Amendment, Proposition 10 (2011)

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Proposition 10
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Referred by:Texas Legislature
Topic:Admin of gov't
Status:Approved Approveda
The Texas Automatic Resignation Term Length Amendment was on the November 8, 2011 general election ballot in the state of Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. Approveda

Proposition 10 changed the length of the unexpired term that triggers automatic resignation under the "resign-to-run" rule from one year to one year and 30 days as to accommodate recent changes to Texas election law.

The formal name of the bill was Senate Joint Resolution 37.

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Texas Proposition 10
Approveda Yes 371,460 55.94%

Text of measure

Ballot summary

The ballot text read as:

"The constitutional amendment to change the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain elected county or district officeholders if they become candidates for another office."[1]

Constitutional changes

See also: Texas Proposition 10 (2011), constitutional text changes

Proposition 10 amended Section 65 (b) of Article 16 of the Texas Constitution.

Fiscal note

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The Texas Legislative Budget Board issued a fiscal note about SJR 37 to the House Committee on Elections on May 5, 2011.[2]

According to the fiscal note:

Administration of government on the ballot in 2011
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  • "No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated, other than the cost of publication."
  • "The cost to the state for publication of the resolution is $105,495."
  • "No fiscal implication to units of local government is anticipated."[2]


Certain offices in Texas, mostly those at the county and district level, are subject to the resign-to-run rule that forces an existing officeholder to resign from office before running for a new office if the amount of time left in the existing term is one year or more (at the time). Changes in Texas election law made to comply with the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act would have place an unintended burden on officials subject to resign-to-run without this amendment.

The MOVE act required states to send absentee ballots to overseas citizens 45 days before an election. To comply with this requirement the Texas Legislature moved the primary election filing deadline from January 2nd of the election year back to the second Monday of December in the preceding odd-numbered year. County and district office terms end on December 31st. A January 2nd filing deadline meant officials with one year left could run for a new office without having to resign the last year of their existing term. Proposition 10 extended the unexpired term length requirement 30 days in order to account for the recently enacted new filing deadline.[3]



Supporters said:

  • This amendment simply revises the length of the unexpired term under the resign-to-run policy to bring it in line with the new filing deadline brought about by the recently passed MOVE Act (SB 100). The resign-to-run law requires certain officials (mostly county officials) to resign from their current office when running for a different office, if their unexpired term is longer than one year. It is not a change in policy, but a technical change in order to reconcile an existing policy with a new election law.[3]
  • Not passing the amendment would effectively force officials to leave their jobs if they wanted to run for another office. This would place as undue financial burden on county and district officials who in general can't afford to take a year off work. The subsequent affect would be to discourage qualified candidates from running, leading to unneeded vacancies in critical positions.[3]
  • We Texans, a limited-government and economic freedom advocacy organization, supported Proposition 10. In an October 19, 2011 post they explained their reasoning: "The “resign-to-run” provision was added to the Texas Constitution in 1958 and was designed to insure officeholders gave their undivided attention to the duties of their office rather than campaigning while in the middle of their term. The provision created an automatic resignation for elected officials who began their campaign for a new office with more than one year remaining in their current term.
  • Terms for these officials end December 31. Previously, with filing deadlines in January, officials could announce their candidacy for another office on Jan. 1 or 2 and continue to serve the remainder of their current term. In order to insure adequate time to send ballots to military and overseas voters, the filing deadline has been moved from Jan. 2 to the second Monday in December. This provision would extend the provision so that an automatic resignation was not triggered unless the candidate began their campaign more than one year and 30 days before the expiration of their current term."[4]


According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)



Opponents said:

  • Instead of reconciling the resign-to-run policy with changes in election law, the resign-to-run policy should be repealed. The policy only affects county officials and penalizes them for announcing candidacy for another office. County officials should be treated the same as all other Texas officials, who are not required to resign to run for another office.[3]


According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Texas ballot measures, 2011


  • Conroe Courier of Montgomery County said, "The amendment would not change policy but only adjust the dates to be in line with the new federal filing date enacted to allow more time for the delivery of ballots to the military and others overseas. We support Proposition 10"[5]
  • The Lufkin News said, "This proposition would allow serving elected official to file for another elected position. Some critics call this the “elected official full employment act.” However, since voters ultimately have the final say in who is elected and the current law can preclude a proven elected official from filing for an office we recommend a vote for Proposition 10."[6]
  • The San Antonio Express-News said,"...changing length of unexpired term that causes automatic resignation when an elected county official becomes a candidate for another office. For."[7]
  • The Dallas Morning News said, "...Proposition 10 on the Nov. 8 ballot, is a constitutional amendment that extends by 30 days the length of the unexpired term that triggers automatic resignation. This amendment passed unanimously in the Senate and overwhelmingly in the House. It’s a reasonable fix to a bookkeeping issue that this newspaper supports."[8]
  • The Austin Chronicle said,"This is a necessary change to comport with the new election calendar if current officeholders are to be allowed to maintain their positions (within limits) while running for another office."[9]
  • The Corpus Christi Caller-Times said, "The Caller-Times Editorial Board recommends approval of all 10, and urges that all registered voters exercise their right to vote."[10]
  • The Burka Blog, written by senior editor for the Texas Monthly Paul Burka, supported Proposition 10. In an October 18, 2011 post he stated " At last, an amendment that doesn’t offer a tax break or try to avoid our pay-as-you-go system. I’m for it."[11]
  • The El Paso Times said, "Currently, certain officeholders running for a different position and with more than a year left on their current term have to resign their position. However, a change in the filing deadline effectively changed that. This proposition would allow the current office to remain stable and allow the official who is running to maintain an income."[12]
  • The Statesman said, "Ten proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution are on the ballot for your approval or disapproval. We recommend you vote for all 10."[13]
  • The Star-Telegram supported Prop 10.[14]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

The legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 37, was approved by both the House (131-14 vote) and the Senate (29-1) on May 26, 2011. The proposed measure was referred to the Secretary of State on May 27, 2011.[15]

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.



The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
House vote May 26, 2011 House voted 131-14 in favor of the proposed measure
Senate vote May 26, 2011 Senate voted 29-1 in favor of the proposed measure
Certified May 27, 2011 Measure received by the Secretary of State for the 2011 ballot

See also

By Jimmy Ardis
Texas state writer

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