The Brief: Texans backed all 7 constitutional amendments this year

by Cassandra Pollock – Texas Tribune

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Texas voters approved all seven constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Voter turnout this year took a nose dive. Around 5 percent of the state’s 15 million eligible voters cast ballots for Tuesday’s election, compared to 11 percent during the last constitutional amendment election in 2015.
  • At the statewide level, voters approved measures such as one that would authorize property tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans or their surviving spouses and another that would allow Texans easier access to their home equity.
  • Controversial issues were on local ballots, too. Austin voters approved a $1.1 billion school bond to boost campus infrastructure and build more than a dozen schools, while Dallas voted down a measure that would have kept the troubled Dallas County Schools bus transportation system running. In Buda, voters rejected the city’s proposal to bring fluoride back into its water system, and voters in Houston gave the thumbs up to a $1 billion pension bond to increase funding levels for the city’s police and municipal workers.

Other stories we’re watching today

  • The state House Appropriations Subcommittee on Disaster Impact and Recovery is holding a hearing in Corpus Christi this morning to discuss Harvey-related recovery efforts. Follow Brandon Formbyfor updates.
    • Join us on Facebook today at noonfor our live recording of the TribCast. We’re talking about the Sutherland Springs shooting and more. Have a question? Reply to this email or tweet it with #TribCast.
    We’re testing a few changes around here. What do you think? Send your thoughts to thebrief@texastribune.org. 

BEST OF THE TRIB

• Ross Ramsey says the government is let off the hook after every mass shooting.

• Mexico and others are trying to stop a Mexican national’s execution that’s scheduled for tonight.

• Remember our Sold Out series earlier this year? Texas has now hired its first ever director of human trafficking prevention.

• Here’s how round two on the state’s “sanctuary cities” law played out in court.

• State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, says #txlege colleagues and the press have treated her unfairly.• New in TribTalk: The case for guns on campus hasn’t changed

BEST OF THE REST

Paywall content noted with $.Politico: Senators look to bolster background check system after Texas shooting

Texas Monthly: How to help victims in Sutherland Springs

The Daily Beast: Women expose the secret sexual predators inside Texas politics

El Paso Times: County Commissioners approve first-time offenders marijuana program agreement

The Dallas Morning News: Four officers facing prison time in sexual misconduct scandal at state youth lockup ($)

The Houston Chronicle: Church shooter threatened military superiors, had “mental disorders,” police report says ($)

PENCIL US IN

Join us in San Antonio on Nov. 17 and 18 for a symposium on immigration, where we’ll explore the recent actions of #txlege, rhetoric on the subject under President Donald Trump and the human cost of immigration.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Raymond Lewis, at his home in Galveston on Oct. 12, 2017, cast his first ballot during the 1968 presidential election when he was a college student at Huston-Tillotson University. Listen to five Texas voters recall their first time at the ballot box — then tell us about your voting experience. Photo by Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune. See more photos on our Instagram account.

THE LAST WORD

“If I leave Washington, D.C., as half the congressman Ted Poe is, I will be a great one. And that’s just the way it is.” 
— U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, on Poe’s retirement announcement.

Thanks for reading The Brief, our daily newsletter on Texas politics, public policy and everything in between. Please shoot me your tips and feedback at cpollock@texastribune.org. Love this newsletter? Consider making a donation in support of a nonprofit newsroom, so we can bring you even more great Texas politics and policy coverage. Thank you! — Cassi Pollock