Amending the Constitution
Texas voters have approved 440 amendments to the state Constitution since its adoption in
1876. Sixteen more proposed amendments will be submitted for voter approval at the general
election on Tuesday, November 6, 2007.
The Legislature proposes constitutional amendments in joint resolutions that originate in either
the House or the Senate. For example, Proposition 1 on the November 6, 2007, ballot was
proposed by House Joint Resolution (HJR) 103, introduced by Rep. Drew Darby and sponsored
in the Senate by Sen. Robert Duncan. Art. 17, sec. 1 of the Constitution requires that a joint
resolution be adopted by at least a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the
Legislature (100 votes in the House of Representatives, 21 votes in the Senate) to be
presented to voters. The governor cannot veto a joint resolution.
Amendments may be proposed in either regular or special sessions. A joint resolution includes
the text of the proposed constitutional amendment and specifies an election date. A joint resolution
may include more than one proposed amendment. For example, HJR 68, adopted in 2003,
included a proposition allowing the Veterans’ Land Board to use excess assets for veterans’
homes and a separate proposition adopting a total-return investment strategy for the
Permanent School Fund. The secretary of state conducts a random drawing to assign each
proposition a ballot number if more than one proposition is being considered.
If voters reject an amendment proposal, the Legislature may resubmit it. For example, the
voters rejected a proposition authorizing $300 million in general obligation bonds for college
student loans at an August 10, 1991, election, then approved an identical proposition at the
November 5, 1991, election after the Legislature readopted the proposal and resubmitted it in
essentially the same form.
The ballot wording of a proposition is specified in the joint resolution adopted by the Legislature,
which has broad discretion c