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Texas Proposition 7 (2009)

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Texas Proposition 7, also known as House Joint Resolution 127, appeared on the November 3, 2009 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

The proposed constitutional amendment allows a person who is enlisted in the Texas State Guard, or any state militia, to hold a civil office position while serving. The bill was authored by Representatives Phil King and Norma Chavez and sponsored by Senator John Carona.[1]

Election results

Texas Proposition 7 was approved by voters on the night of November 3, 2009. Unofficial election results follow:[2]

Texas Proposition 7
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 762,429 73.08%
No280,80226.91%

Text of measure

The short ballot summary Texas voters saw on their ballot was "The constitutional amendment to allow an officer or enlisted member of the Texas State Guard or other state militia or military force to hold other civil offices."[3]

Constitutional changes

See also: Amending the Texas Constitution

According to the enrolled version of HJR 127, the measure amends Section 40(a) of Article 16:

No person shall hold or exercise at the same time, more than one civil office of emolument, except that of Justice of the Peace, County Commissioner, Notary Public and Postmaster, Officer of the National Guard, the National Guard Reserve, and the Officers Reserve Corps of the United States and enlisted men of the National Guard, the National Guard Reserve, and the Organized Reserves of the United States, and retired officers of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and retired warrant officers, and retired enlisted men of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and officers and enlisted members of the Texas State Guard and any other active militia or military force organized under state law, and the officers and directors of soil and water conservation districts, unless otherwise specially provided herein. Provided, that nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit an officer or enlisted man of the National Guard, [and] the National Guard Reserve, the Texas State Guard, and any other active militia or military force organized under state law, or an officer in the Officers Reserve Corps of the United States, or an enlisted man in the Organized Reserves of the United States, or retired officers of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and retired warrant officers, and retired enlisted men of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and officers of the State soil and water conservation districts, from holding at the same time any other office or position of honor, trust or profit, under this State or the United States, or from voting at any election, general, special or primary in this State when otherwise qualified.

Section 40(a) previously read:

(a) No person shall hold or exercise at the same time, more than one civil office of emolument, except that of Justice of the Peace, County Commissioner, Notary Public and Postmaster, Officer of the National Guard, the National Guard Reserve, and the Officers Reserve Corps of the United States and enlisted men of the National Guard, the National Guard Reserve, and the Organized Reserves of the United States, and retired officers of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and retired warrant officers, and retired enlisted men of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and the officers and directors of soil and water conservation districts, unless otherwise specially provided herein. Provided, that nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit an officer or enlisted man of the National Guard, and the National Guard Reserve, or an officer in the Officers Reserve Corps of the United States, or an enlisted man in the Organized Reserves of the United States, or retired officers of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and retired warrant officers, and retired enlisted men of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and officers of the State soil and water conservation districts, from holding at the same time any other office or position of honor, trust or profit, under this State or the United States, or from voting at any election, general, special or primary in this State when otherwise qualified.

Editorial positions

Main article: Endorsements of Texas ballot measures, 2009

Editorial boards in support

  • The El Paso Times supported Proposition 7. The editorial board said,"This would allow Texas State Guard members and members "or other state militia or military group" to hold other civil offices."[4]
  • The Austin Chronicle supported the proposition. They said,"When the current exceptions to "double-dipping" were written, everybody but the state guard or similar militia was included. The more, the merrier."[5]
  • In an editorial published by the San Antonio Express-News, the publication expressed their support for both Proposition 7 and 10. The newspaper justified their support for proposition 7 by claiming:

"Proposition 7 would add the Texas State Guard to the list of militia that could serve public office while serving time in their respective armed forces branch. This would allow more jobs to be done by militia than there already are."[6]

Editorial boards opposed

  • The Star-Telegram opposed Proposition 7. They said,"A better way to do this, rather than holding an election every time some exception seems like a good idea, is to scrap the list and give the Legislature the authority to make exceptions by statute. Voters could hold the Legislature responsible for bad decisions."[7]

Campaign contributions

No committees or contributions to campaigns relating to Proposition 7 were reported.[8]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

Proposition 7 was approved for a statewide vote by the Texas House of Representatives on May 11, 2009 by a vote of 145-0, followed by the Texas State Senate on May 25, 2009 with another unanimous vote of 31-0.[9]

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.

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