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North Texas Voters OK State Amendments & Local Bond Packages

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP)Voters statewide approved all seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday — giving themselves tax breaks, cementing their rights to hunt and fish, pumping billions of extra public dollars into roads and freeing some top elected officials from having to live in the state capital.

But the most-watched ballot initiative was defeated, as Houston residents rejected a city ordinance extending nondiscrimination protections to gay and transgender residents.

Here in North Texas, voters approved bond packages that will improve renovate and build new schools in the Allen, Dallas, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, Mesquite and Rockwall Independent School Districts.

♦♦♦ View Election Results From All The Races ♦♦♦

Meanwhile in McKinney, two large components of a $160 million bond package were rejected. Voters said no to building a new downtown parking garage and investing some $50 million to expand the city's airport.

In Lewisville, voters approved bonds of more than $120 million for street improvements, public safety facilities and parks. The city's fourth bond, to build a $13 million indoor aquatic center, narrowly passed.

Here's a guide to what happened statewide on Election Day:



Voters approved Proposition 1, which will increase homeowners' property tax homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000, saving the average family roughly $125 annually while costing the state about $1.2 billion in tax revenue for school districts during the first two years.

The Legislature has budgeted extra funding so schools won't see shortfalls, at least in the short term.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who oversees the Texas Senate, said the proposition's "huge margin of victory" will "give us the clout to do more property tax relief" during the next legislative session in 2017.

Also passing was Proposition 2, which offers property tax exemptions to the spouses of totally disabled veterans who died before January 2010. Similar exemptions already exist for spouses of totally disabled veterans who died in 2011 or later.



The land and agriculture commissioners, comptroller, attorney general and members of the Railroad Commission will be allowed to live somewhere other than Austin under Proposition 3.

Supporters argued that modern technology allows elected officials to do their jobs from anywhere. None of the current holders of eligible offices have acknowledged any plans to move away from the Texas capital, however.

The amendment won't apply to the governor and the 1856 Greek Revival-style Austin mansion he occupies. It also has no effect on the lieutenant governor, nor Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals judges.

♦♦♦ View Election Results From All The Races ♦♦♦



Passage of Proposition 4 means professional teams can hold charitable raffles at all home games. That's good news for supporters, which included the Dallas Cowboys and most of the state's top sports franchises.



Proposition 6 recognizes the right for people to hunt, fish and "harvest wildlife" and will protect those activities from future lawsuits.

Though such legal challenges have been sparse, Texas now joins 18 other states in spelling out such guarantees in their constitutions.



Proposition 5 lets counties with fewer than 7,500 people privatize road construction and maintenance — up from the current maximum of 5,000 residents. About 70 counties qualify.

And Proposition 7 means that when sales tax revenue exceeds $28 billion per fiscal year, the next $2.5 billion would go to road construction and maintenance starting in September 2017.

Then, beginning in September 2019, if tax revenue from vehicle sales and rentals exceeds $5 billion per fiscal year, 35 percent of the amount exceeding $5 billion would go to road funding.

The amendment allows the GOP-controlled Legislature to bolster transportation infrastructure strained by Texas' booming population without raising taxes.

"Prop 7 will provide an efficient way to dedicate a portion of our sales tax revenue to build the roads that our children and grandchildren will use," said Rep. Joe Pickett, an El Paso Democrat who chairs the House Transportation Committee. "All we are doing is taking the success of the Texas economy and dedicating a portion of it to transportation."

Governor Greg Abbott said that by passing all seven constitutional amendments, Texas residents "are creating an even better place for future generations to live, work and raise a family."

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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