Round-up: What happened in the Nov. 2 Texas constitutional amendment and local San Antonio-area election

Texas voters approved all 8 constitutional amendments; Republican takes special runoff election for state house seat in San Antonio

Vote 2021

SAN ANTONIOFind more coverage of the 2021 election here.

Eight amendments will be enshrined in the Texas Constitution and voters in south and east Bexar County chose a familiar face as their new state representative during Tuesday’s election.

In the race to succeed Leo Pacheco as the representative of House District 118, Republican John Lujan narrowly edged out Democrat Frank Ramirez.

Lujan is no stranger to the Southeast Side district, previously representing HD 118 in 2016.

Ramirez, a former city council and Texas Legislature staffer, started Tuesday night with an early lead, but Lujan overtook it as Election Day votes were counted.

Lujan won 52% of the vote with 5,924 ballots cast in his favor. Ramirez won 5,638 votes, amounting to 49%.

The runoff between Ramirez and Lujan was the only Texas House race on the ballot in this election. Though the district is Democratic-leaning, Republicans heavily invested in the race, making it a competitive one. The victory marks the latest for the GOP, who have made inroads with Latino voters in South Texas for the past few years.

Republican John Lujan (left) and Democrat Frank Ramirez (right), will face off in a runoff Special Election for Texas House District 118. The winner will replace Leo Pacheco. (KSAT)

Statewide, voters overwhelmingly approved eight proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. They covered a range of topics, including taxes, judicial eligibility, religious freedom and development. The amendments cruised to an early double-digit lead, which grew as more Election Day votes were tallied on Tuesday night. See a rundown of all the amendments at the bottom of this article.

In the San Antonio area, voters also made crucial decisions on major bond propositions for school districts throughout the region.

Voters in East Central ISD rejected a $172 million bond proposal that would have funded the construction of three new schools along with a variety of other renovations.

Judson ISD also saw its proposed $300 million bonds narrowly defeated. That money would have funded growth, athletic upgrades and technological advancements.

Southside ISD voters rejected a $52 million bond, which would have gone toward building and renovating schools and other facilities.

New Braunfels ISD voters approved two of three proposals in a $350 million bond. They approved spending $321 million on new schools and facility upgrades and $6.6 million on technology, but rejected a $20 million proposal on stadium renovations.

In Comal ISD, voters were split, approving two of four bonds. Though they approved a $411 million proposal to build new schools and a $34 million proposal to fund technology and network upgrades, they rejected a $20 million proposal to improve football stadiums and a $61 million proposal to improve athletic facilities.

A controversial Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City trustee was ousted in the election on Tuesday night. Gary Inmon lost to Amy Thomas, who won 64% of the vote. Inmon was twice censured by fellow board members for a litany of legal troubles.

Here are the newly approved amendments made to the Texas Constitution:

Proposition 1 - Rodeo Raffles

If passed, this constitutional amendment will allow the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to hold charitable raffles at rodeo events.

Proposition 2 - Development

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow counties to finance the development of undeveloped, unproductive or underserved areas through bonds. Currently, cities are authorized to call such bonds but not counties.

Proposition 3 - Religious Services

This constitutional amendment will bar all governmental entities in Texas from adopting any rule that limits or prohibits religious services. The amendment would bolster freedom for churches and other places of worship, many of which greatly reduced services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposition 4 - Judicial Eligibility Requirements

This amendment would change the requirements for most judges elected in Texas. The proposed amendment would require judicial candidates to be Texas residents with a license to practice law in Texas. It would also require that candidates are a practicing lawyer or judge for at least eight years before they are elected and have not had their law license revoked or suspended during that time.

Proposition 5 - State Commission on Judicial Conduct

This amendment would allow the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to accept complaints, conduct investigations, and “take any other authorized action” regarding a candidate running for state judicial offices. Currently, the commission can only take such actions on officeholders, not candidates.

Proposition 6 - Caregiver Designation

Under this proposed amendment, residents in nursing and assisted-living facilities or state-supported living centers would have the right to designate an “essential caregiver.” This caregiver could not be denied in-person visitation.

Proposition 7 - Homestead Exemption

If a spouse who is receiving limitations on school district property taxes due to disability dies, this amendment allows those limitations to remain in place as long as the property remains owned by the surviving spouse if they are 55 or older.

Proposition 8 - Tax Exemption

The Texas Constitution currently provides tax exemptions to a surviving spouse for members of the armed services who are killed in action. This amendment would expand that definition to include service members who die due to any injuries sustained during their service, whether it is combat-related or not.

See all results in the embed below.


About the Authors:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.