Early voting begins Oct. 23 and the Navasota Examiner will publish the 14 proposed Constitutional amendments over the next seven weeks. The Condensed Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments, 88th Legislative Session for the Nov. 7, 2023, Election is published by the Texas Legislative Council and available at: https://www.tlc.texas.gov/ docs/amendments/analyses23_ condensed.pdf.
A detailed analysis is available at: https://tlc.texas. gov/docs/amendments/analyses23. pdf
Summary of Comments The following comments supporting or opposing the proposed constitutional amendment reflect positions that were presented in committee proceedings, during house or senate floor debate, or in the analysis of the resolution prepared by the House Research Organization (HRO) when the resolution was considered by the House of Representatives.
Proposition 7 (S.J.R. 93) The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.
S.J.R. 93, 88th Legislature, Regular Session, 2023, proposes the addition of Section 49-q to Article III, Texas Constitution, to provide for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities. If this amendment is approved by the voters, the legislature has provided initial funding of $5 billion and enacted enabling legislation to begin providing loans and grants from the fund.
Comments by Supporters • Additional state funding is needed to increase the reliability of the state’s electric market, particularly with regard to dispatchable generation.
• Creating the Texas energy fund would enable the Public Utility Commission of Texas to provide loans and grants to finance or incentivize the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities, including associated infrastructure, necessary to ensure the reliability or adequacy of the state’s electric power grid.
Comments by Opponents Providing funding to increase the reliability of the Texas grid would be more appropriate through the rate payer system as opposed to providing state subsidies funded by all taxpayers.
Proposition 8 (H.J.R. 125) The constitutional amendment creating the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects.
H.J.R. 125 proposes the addition of Section 49-d-16, Article III, Texas Constitution, to create the broadband infrastructure fund for the expansion of access to and adoption of broadband and telecommunications services. The proposed amendment takes effect January 1, 2024, and expires on September 1, 2035, unless extended for 10 years by a concurrent resolution approved by a record vote of two-thirds of the members of each house of the legislature. The legislature has appropriated $1.5 billion to the proposed fund contingent on voter approval of the proposed amendment.
Comments by Supporters • Establishing a fund to support broadband expansion and infrastructure investment would provide resources to close the digital divide in Texas, which in turn could help to improve quality of life and lead to increased economic growth.
• Without reliable access to broadband Internet, millions of Texans are at a disadvantage in seeking employment opportunities and accessing certain educational and health care services that are increasingly going virtual.
• By investing state dollars in the expansion of broadband infrastructure, the state would be well positioned to draw down funds from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which matches state dollars on a four-to-one basis.
• A state funding source for broadband expansion will provide much-needed flexibility in achieving broadband attainment goals that is missing with federal programs that come with certain added constraints.
Comments by Opponents • The broadband infrastructure fund should be required to prioritize projects that develop fiber optic broadband infrastructure, which may be faster, safer, and more durable and reliable than wireless broadband.
• Texas has previously allocated $600 million for broadband purposes, and the state is likely to receive billions of dollars from the federal BEAD program for these purposes. Creating a costly new broadband fund with state taxpayer dollars is excessive and fiscally irresponsible.