ELECTION 2023 | Voters will get opportunity to decide on new fund for state parks

Texas could have additional money for state parks after the November general election.

If approved by voters, Proposition 14 would establish a fund for the creation and improvement of state-run parks. The fund would be financed in part by "gifts, grants and donations received by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department."

Voters also will have the opportunity to increase the mandatory retirement age for state justices and judges. The measure is incorporated in Proposition 13.

The two issues are on the Nov. 7 ballot along with 12 other proposed constitutional changes.

Sunday's edition of the Gazette looked at Propositions 1 and 2. An overview of Propositions 3 and 4 was published in Monday's edition. Propositions 5 and 6 were discussed in Tuesday's edition, and Propositions 7 and 8 in Thursday's edition.

A summary of Propositions 9 and 10 can be found in Friday's edition.

Today's edition looks at Propositions 11 and 12.

Today's edition concludes the overview with Propositions 13 and 14.

PROPOSITION 13

Ballot title: The constitutional amendment to increase the mandatory age of retirement for state justices and judges

Author: Rep. Four Price

Summary: HJR 107 would increase the mandatory retirement age for state justices and judges. Currently, the Texas Constitution establishes that justices and judges of the appellate courts, district courts, and criminal district courts must retire on the expiration of the term during which they reach the age of 75 years or an earlier age, not less than 70 years, as the Legislature may prescribe.

The proposed amendment would change the mandatory retirement age for justices and judges of the appellate courts, district courts and criminal district courts to 79 years or an earlier age, not less than 75 years, as the Legislature may prescribe. The proposed amendment also would remove the provision stating that justices and judges may only serve until Dec. 31 of their fourth year in office if they reach the age of 75 years in the first four years of a six-year term.

Supporters: Oldham County Attorney's Office; Texas Trucking Association; Texas Civil Justice League; Texans for Lawsuit Reform; Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas; Texas Association of Retired, Senior and Former Judges; Statutory Probate Judges of Texas; Texas Watch; Texas Trial Lawyers Association

Opposers: No campaign listed on legislative witness list

PROPOSITION 14

Ballot title: The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks

Author: Sen. Tan Parker et al

Summary: SJR 74 would establish the centennial parks conservation fund as a trust fund outside the state treasury. The fund could be used, in accordance with general law, only for the creation and improvement of state parks. The centennial parks conservation fund would consist of money appropriated, credited or transferred to the fund by the Legislature; gifts, grants and donations received by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or its successor for a purpose for which money in the fund may be used; and investment earnings and interest earned on amounts credited to the fund.

The proposed amendment would authorize the Legislature to appropriate money from the centennial parks conservation fund to TPWD or its successor for the creation and improvement of state parks.

Supporters: Environment Texas; Texas 2036; Texans for State Parks; Texas Travel Alliance; Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club; Texas Foundation for Conservation

Opposers: No campaign listed on legislative witness list

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Monday, Oct. 23 -- First day to early vote in person

Friday, Oct. 27 -- Last day to apply for ballot by mail. Correspondence must be received, not postmarked, by Oct. 27.

Friday, Nov. 3 -- Last day to early vote in person

Tuesday, Nov. 7 -- Last day to receive ballot by mail. Carrier envelop not postmarked must be received by 7 p.m. Envelopes postmarked by 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 will be accepted Wednesday, Nov. 8 until 5 p.m.

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In Bowie County, voters can cast an early ballot in the Elections Workroom at the courthouse, 710 James Bowie Drive in New Boston; in the ABC Room at the Southwest Center, 3222 W. Seventh St. in Texarkana; and at the west side entrance at Walnut Church of Christ, 2720 Moores Lane.

For early voting times in Bowie County, call the Elections Office at 903-628-6810.

Cass County voters can cast an early ballot at the Voting Building, 227 E. Rush St. in Linden; and at North East Texas Property Management, 101 E. Pinecrest Drive in Atlanta.

For Cass County early voting information, call 903-756-5513.

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