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Texas Emergency Service District Board Term Limits, Proposition 10 (2009)

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Texas Constitution
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3 (1-43)3 (44-49)3 (50-67)
The Texas Emergency Services Amendment, also known as House Joint Resolution 85, appeared on the November 3, 2009 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

The proposition limits the terms of governing board members of emergency service districts to four years. The bill was authored by Rep. Patricia Harless and was sponsored by Sen. Dan Patrick.[1]

Election results

Texas Proposition 10 was approved by voters on the night of November 3, 2009. Unofficial election results follow:[2]

Texas Proposition 10
Approveda Yes 756,624 73.09%

Text of measure

The short ballot summary Texas voters saw on their ballot was "The constitutional amendment to provide that elected members of the governing boards of emergency services districts may serve terms not to exceed four years."[3]

Constitutional changes

See also: Amending the Texas Constitution

Proposition 10 amends Section 30(c) of Article 16 to say:

The Legislature may provide that members of the governing board of a district or authority created by authority of Article III, Section 48-e, Article III, Section 52(b)(1) or (2), or Article XVI, Section 59, of this Constitution serve terms not to exceed four years.

Section 30(c) currently reads:

(c) The Legislature may provide that members of the governing board of a district or authority created by authority of Article III, Section 52(b)(1) or (2), or Article XVI, Section 59, of this Constitution serve terms not to exceed four years.


Some counties did not feel the need for the passage of the amendment, as some emergency service districts are appointed in procedures other than elections. In Comal County, board members are appointed by Commissioners Court. According to an article published in the local newspaper, seven districts provide emergency service to parts of Comal county. According to Jay Wetz, president of ESD No. 1 in Comal county: “It’s quite a bit of work involved with no pay. We have trouble getting people on the board as it is ... I wouldn’t want to see us go to an election system."[4]

Campaign contributions

No committees or contributions to campaigns relating to Proposition 10 were reported.[5]

Media editorial positions

Main article: Endorsements of Texas ballot measures, 2009

Editorial boards in support

  • The El Paso Times supported Proposition 10. They said,"This would allow members of emergency services district boards to serve four-year terms rather than the current two years. This would provide more continuity and experience on the boards."[6]
  • The Austin Chronicle supported Proposition 10. Of the proposition the editorial board said,"trivial, and this belongs in ordinary legislation, not the state constitution."[7]

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 10 by claiming:

  • "The boards of the other emergency districts are appointed by the county commissioners of the county in which the district is located."
  • "Elections cost time and money. Extending the term of office for these public servants makes fiscal sense for taxpayers."[8]

Editorial boards opposed

  • The Star-Telegram editorial board opposed Proposition 10. They said,"The constitution allows creation of emergency services districts that can levy property taxes to pay for things like ambulance service and rural fire control within their boundaries. Prop 10 would allow the elected board members in some of those districts in and around Houston to serve terms of four years rather than two. This is goofy. There’s no good reason why board members of obscure districts in Harris County should have longer terms than members of the Texas House."[9]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

The Texas House of Representatives approved the amendment on May 11, 2009 with a vote of 141-0, followed by the State Senate approval on May 27, 2009 with a vote of 31-0.[10]

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

External links

Additional reading

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