Texas State Medical Education Board and State Medical Education Fund Elimination Amendment, Proposition 2 (2013)

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Texas Proposition 2
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Texas Constitution
Referred by:Texas State Legislature
Topic:Administration of government
Status:Approved Approveda
The Texas State Medical Education Board and State Medical Education Fund Elimination Amendment, Proposition 2 was on the November 5, 2013 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. It was approved.

The measure implemented a constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund. This measure was sponsored in the legislature by Rep. Dan Branch (R-108) as House Joint Resolution 79 (timed out).[1] The enabling legislation for Prop 2 was HB 1061.[2]

Election results

See also: 2013 ballot measure election results

Below are the official election results:

Texas Proposition 2
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 950,046 84.69%
No171,66615.30%
These results are from the Texas Secretary of State.

Background

In 1952, citizens voted to adopt HJR 38, which amended the Texas Constitution. This amendment required the legislature create the State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund in order to provide grants, loans and scholarships to medical students who sought or agreed to set up their practice in a rural area of the state. The board was not established until 1973. By 1987, the Legislative Budget Board found that only 11 percent of the board's loan recipients were actually practicing in rural Texas, with only 14 percent serving in medically underserved areas. As of 2013, the board had not received state appropriations or issued loans for over 20 years and was essentially defunct.[3]

Texas Secretary of State, John Steen selected the order of the nine ballot measures for 2013 at random. The nine approved amendments were added to the Texas Constitution, the longest state constitution in the country. As of 2011, the state legislature had put 653 amendments before voters since 1876, of which 474 were passed.[4] LWV-Texas Education Fund Chair Linda Krefting, had this to say about the nine constitutional amendments: "The issues at stake affect all Texans now and in the future, from property tax exemptions to funding the water state plan. Given the significance of the issues and relative permanence of constitutional amendments, voters need to understand each of the propositions to cast an informed vote."[5]

Enabling legislation

Proposition 2 was placed on the ballot via HJR 79. However, HB 1061 was the enabling legislation for HJR 79. Enabling legislation is a bill passed into law by the Texas Legislature that authorizes an exemption for prior contracts or bids.[6] HB 1061 will take effect January 1, 2014, as a result of Prop 2's approval. HB 1061 repeals the statutory authority for the long-inactive State Medical Education Board, thereby creating an avenue by which the stipulations laid out in Prop 2 can be implemented.[7][8] Read more about enabling legislation here.

Text of measure

The ballot waas printed to permit voting for or against the proposition:[9]

The constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.

[10]

Constitutional changes

Proposition 2 repealed Section 50a of Article III of the Texas Constitution. That section read:

Text of Section 50a: State Medical Education Board; State Medical Education Fund; Purpose

The Legislature shall create a State Medical Education Board to be composed of not more than six (6) members whose qualifications, duties and terms of office shall be prescribed by law. The Legislature shall also establish a State Medical Education Fund and make adequate appropriations therefore to be used by the State Medical Education Board to provide grants, loans or scholarships to students desiring to study medicine and agreeing to practice in the rural areas of this State, upon such terms and conditions as shall be prescribed by law. The term "rural areas" as used in this Section shall be defined by law.


Fiscal impact statement

Both the fiscal note of HJR 79, as well as the fiscal note for HB 1061 - the enabling legislation - indicated there would be no financial burden to local governments as a result of Prop 2's approval. The only cost at the state level was $108,921, which is what it cost to print the resolution.[11][12]

Texas Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
12
3 (1-43)3 (44-49)3 (50-67)
4567891011121314151617

Support

The measure was sponsored by Reps. Dan Branch, Scott Turner (R-33) and Brian Birdwell (R-22).[1] The measure was passed unanimously by both chambers of the Texas legislature.[13]

The arguments presented in favor of Prop 2 in the state's official voter guide were constructed by the Texas Legislative Council. The arguments featured were based on comments made about the amendment during the legislative process and generally summarized the main arguments supporting the amendment. They read as follows:[3]

  • "The proposed amendment would afford an opportunity to shrink state government by eliminating an obsolete governmental office, streamlining the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and simplifying an ever-expanding state constitution. The objectives and functions of the State Medical Education Board, which were never accomplished with any particular measure of efficiency before the board became obsolete, are now accomplished by other more effective means, and the Sunset Advisory Commission's recent review of the THECB, to which the medical education board has been administratively attached, provides further impetus to finally implementing the decades-old Sunset Advisory Commission recommendation to abolish the medical education board and its attendant fund."[14]

According to the League of Women Voters of Texas, which offered both support and opposition arguments for the measure, arguments in support of the measure included:[15]

  • "Since the SMEB and its education fund are no longer operational, references to them should be removed from the state's unwieldy constitution."

Other arguments included:

  • Empower Texans supported Proposition 2. They said, "Eliminating references to unneeded state agencies that have ceased to function is a good clean-up."[16]

Opposition

According to the Texas Legislative Council's Official Voter Guide, which was compiled by the Texas Legislative Council:[3]

  • "No comments opposing the proposed amendment were made during the house and senate committee hearings or during debate on the amendment in the house and senate chambers. A review of other sources also did not reveal any apparent opposition to the amendment."[3]

According to the League of Women Voters of Texas, which offered both support and opposition arguments for the measure, arguments in opposition to the measure included:[15]

  • "The SMEB and its education fund are obsolete and no loans have been issued since 1988, so a constitutional amendment to remove references to them is unnecessary."[15]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Texas ballot measures, 2013

Support

  • The Austin Chronicle said, "Would eliminate an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Edu­cation Board and a State Medical Edu­ca­tion Fund – neither of which has been operational for decades. Clean-up legislation."[17]
  • The Dallas Morning News said, "Proposition 2 could be the poster child for why the state’s constitution needs a serious overhaul. It asks voters to pass a constitutional amendment eliminating a State Medical Education Board that’s obsolete and a State Medical Education Fund that has not received money or issued loans for 24 years... So it now falls on you to clean up the constitutionally created mess from 61 years ago by passing … another constitutional amendment. And we recommend you do so."[18]
  • Houston Chronicle said, "In 1952, Texas voters amended the constitution to direct the Legislature to create the State Medical Education Board and a scholarship fund to issue loans to medical students who agreed to practice in rural areas. The program proved ineffective, and no new loans have been issued since 1988. The proposed amendment would remove references to the defunct program and related entities."[19]
  • The San Antonio Express News said that it was "for" Prop 2. This publication supported all nine of the proposed constitutional amendments.[20]
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram said, "Proposition 2 would remove from the constitution the language about the defunct State Medical Education Board and its related fund...The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends votes for propositions 1, 2, 4 and 8."[21]
  • The Burnt Orange Report endorsed Prop 2, saying, "While one can raise serious questions about the procedural need to amend the state constitution for minor issues such as this, at least this amendment makes our 400-page governing document a bit shorter. We overwhelmingly endorse a vote FOR Proposition 2 in the November 2013 constitutional amendment elections."[22]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Texas Constitution

A 2/3rds vote in both chambers of the Texas State Legislature is required to refer an amendment to the ballot. Texas is one of sixteen states that requires this. Since the bill was a joint resolution, it did not require the governor's signature before being placed on the ballot.

The Texas House of Representatives passed the amendment on April 17, 2013, with a vote of 145 to 0. The Texas State Senate then passed the amendment on May 13, 2013, with a vote of 30 to 0.[13]

Texas Disabled Veteran Residence Tax Exemption Amendment, HJR 79 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 145 100%
No00%
Texas Disabled Veteran Residence Tax Exemption Amendment, HJR 79 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 30 100%
No00%

See also

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External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 OpenStates.org, "HJR 79: Texas House Joint Resolution - Proposing a constitutional amendment to eliminate an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund," accessed May 31, 2013
  2. Northern Texas Citizens Lobby, "9 Proposed Amendments – Put Through the Constitutional Test," accessed October 25, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Texas Legislative Council Voter Guide, "Amendment No. 2, HJR 79," accessed October 16, 2013
  4. Legislative Reference Library of Texas, "Constitutional Amendments," accessed September 26, 2013
  5. The Gilmer Mirror Online, "Texas Voters Will Decide: Whether to Approve Property Tax Exemptions Related to Military Service," September 5, 2013
  6. Texas Secretary of State, "Texas Administrative Code: Title 34, Part 1, Chapter 3, Subchapter O," accessed October 25, 2013
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ntcl
  8. Texas Legislature Online, "HB 1061," accessed November 1, 2013
  9. Texas State Legislature, "H.J.R. No. 79," accessed May 31, 2013 (timed out)
  10. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  11. [http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/fiscalnotes/html/HJ00079E.htm Texas Legislature Online, " FISCAL NOTE, 83RD LEGISLATIVE REGULAR SESSION," May 6, 2013]
  12. Texas Legislature Online, "FISCAL NOTE, 83RD LEGISLATIVE REGULAR SESSION," May 6, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 Texas House of Representatives, "History of House Joint Resolution 79," accessed August 21, 2013
  14. Texas Legislative Council, "Analysis of Proposed Constitutional Amendments," accessed September 16, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The League of Women Voters of Texas, "Voter Information," accessed October 7, 2013
  16. Empower Texans, "Recommendations: Texas Constitutional Amendments," October 17, 2013
  17. The Austin Chronicle, "'Chronicle' Endorsements," October 18, 2013
  18. The Dallas Morning News, "Editorial: Attention voters, cleanup on Prop 2," October 2, 2013
  19. Houston Chronicle, "Our take on the proposed constitutional amendments," October 15, 2013
  20. San Antonio Express, "Vote early in amendment election," October 18, 2013
  21. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "On amendments, four easy choices," October 15, 2013
  22. Burnt Orange Report, "Burnt Orange Report Endorses A Vote FOR Statewide Proposition 2," October 17, 2013