The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

Texans Take on Constitutional Propositions

Amelia Coleman

Texas is holding a constitutional amendment election on Nov. 7 over 14 new measures, or proposed plans of action, that cover numerous topics ranging from creating new Texas funds to abolishing certain government offices. 

One topic that multiple measures cover is financial assistance for teachers and childcare providers. Proposition Two concerns property taxes on child care facilities while Proposition Nine allows the state legislature to make cost-of-living adjustments to eligible educators in the teacher retirement system. 

Gonzalo Barrientos is a former Texas state representative and senator who served in the House of Representatives from 1975 to 1985 and as a senator for the 14th district of Texas from 1985 to 2007. Barrientos believes that voters, particularly high school-age voters, may be interested in the measures covering the subject of education. 

“Anything having to do with public schools I would look at a lot more specifically,” Barrientos said. “And I would advise the students, led by the teachers and parents, to look more into that.”

LASA’s AP Government and AP U.S. History teacher, Houston Goodell, agrees that it is important for students and non-student voters to research a candidate or measure prior to voting to prevent any kind of misinformation. Goodell hopes people will make an effort to know what they are voting on before heading to the polls.

“I would say the best thing that any student or any voter could do is to research the candidates and research the issues,” Goodell said. “There’s a lot of information out there about who you’re going to be voting for.” 

Barrientos particularly believes in the importance of Proposition Two. This proposition would allow local governments to exempt child care facilities from property taxes. 

“Daycare centers serve a lot of people who have children,” Barrientos said. “They’re not rich, they don’t have very much money, so to exempt certain facilities like that, who usually are not owned by national or world companies, you give them a little break. They’re taking care of kids, for goodness sake.”

Barrientos noted similarities between his time in office and the current measures. During his career in the Texas Senate and House, he made a push for advancements in childcare, particularly in the world of Texas politics. 

“When I was first in the Senate, Emma, my wife asked me, ‘Are there a lot of employees around the Capitol?’” Barrientos said. “I said, ‘Yes’ and she said, ‘Well, where did the women keep their children when they weren’t over there?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ She says ‘Yeah okay, big shot. Why don’t you pass a law to set up a daycare center for state employees?’ So I did.”

Madeline Pierce is a LASA freshman and a member of the Youth and Government club at LASA. Pierce, who has an interest in politics, also recognizes the importance of Proposition Two and is role in improving daycare centers. 

“I think it’s good because the people that work at these places and the daycares themselves can pay less in money,” Pierce said, “So instead of paying those things off by themselves, they can put that funding into things like learning.”

Proposition Six, which would establish the Texas Water Fund, and Proposition Seven, which would create the Texas Energy Fund, both aim to support Texas infrastructure. Barrientos thinks voters should be cautious of amendments like these. 

“Sounds like a good idea,” Barrientos said, “but you have to ask questions like, ‘who are these water developers?’ ‘Is it some national or international corporation or is it a nonprofit organization which is going to do the general good instead of mak[ing] money?’” 

  The vagueness in Proposition Six and Seven also stood out to Pierce. She agreed that they should be questioned and researched in advance.

“That’s a really big question,” Pierce said, “because I feel like, who are they funding?”

While Barrientos and Pierce have concerns with Propositions Six and Seven, Goodell noted the positive effects that they may have for Texans. He believes that voters should support these causes.

“I would say Proposition Six is incredibly important,” Goodell said. “And also [Proposition] Seven because they’re both infrastructure, and the role of government is to provide adequate infrastructure for its citizenry.” 

However, there has been an increase in the number of voters in the state. Between January 2022 and January 2023, there was an increase of around 300,000 registered voters, according to Texas Secretary of State voter registration data . Goodell hopes to see this trend continue.

“I would like everybody who is of voting age to get involved,” Goodell said. “Every issue pertains to every citizen in some way, even if you’re not directly affected.”

Pierce also believes that everyone who is able should vote. He said despite any feelings of apathy, every person who is eligible should head to the polls this November.

“I think voting is something that everybody with the ability to do so should do,” Pierce said. “Even if they feel like their vote doesn’t matter, because everybody’s vote matters.”

Barrientos concurs. He believes that voting is an extremely important part of keeping democracy alive. 

“The only way that we can keep this democracy, and this independence… is if a good majority of the people vote,” Barrientos said.

Early voting is available from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3 and Nov. 7 is Election Day. To find information on polling locations and times, visit and for detailed nonpartisan descriptions of the propositions, check out the League of Austin Women Voters constitutional amendment election voter guide.

Amelia Coleman
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