What the Texas election could mean for local churches and nursing homes

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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) – Advance voting is still underway in Texas, and voters will be making big decisions about the future of the state’s constitution.

In total, there are eight proposed amendments, and while they are all important, there seem to be two that stand out.

Both are likely a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and could affect many people, especially if you go to church or live in or visit a nursing home.

Churches are just one of the many things that have had to adapt to the pandemic.

“I got a call from my music minister at the time, who is an executive at a hospital, and he told me that I think our plan for this Sunday doesn’t make sense,” said Stephen Suffron, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Denison.

He said they had decided to go virtual, and when they reopened they did their best to follow CDC guidelines.

“We would continue to operate in a way if another crisis arose, we would definitely look at public health and all that stuff and do what we think is best, but we certainly appreciate the freedom to make our own decisions,” Suffron said.

But the decision to open or close the doors of churches could be left to voters this year on proposal three of the proposed amendments.

“For example, if the government would come in and ban us from going to church due to COVID or some other quote-on-quote emergency, that wouldn’t allow the state to do it,” said Britton Brooks, a local lawyer.

However, there is concern for some voters about this.

“Now the counter-argument for some is that when you get together in large groups, COVID can spread faster,” Brooks said. “Obviously this applies to churches, maybe weddings, maybe work, schools. We’ve seen that happen a bit in 2020. ”

Another place where COVID can spread quickly is nursing homes.

“During COVID, many nursing homes refused to come to see their families,” Brooks said.

Proposal number 6 would change that.

“This allows nursing home residents to choose at least one person the state cannot take away from them to come visit, whether it be a nurse, a family member, anyone they choose. will be considered essential for this purpose, ”he added. Brooks said.

Here is the full list of proposals:

Proposal 1: “The constitutional amendment allowing charitable foundations of professional sports teams of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to hold charity raffles at rodeo venues.”

Proposition 2: “The constitutional amendment allowing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transport or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped or devastated areas of the county. “

Proposition 3: “The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from banning or limiting religious services of religious organizations. “

Proposition 4: “The constitutional amendment modifying the conditions of eligibility of a judge of the Supreme Court, of a judge of the criminal court of appeal, of a judge of a court of appeal and of a district judge .

Proposition 5: “The constitutional amendment granting additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in relation to candidates for judicial office.

Proposition 6: “The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visits. “

Proposition 7: “The constitutional amendment allowing the surviving spouse of a person with a disability to receive a limitation on ad valorem taxes from the school district on the homestead of the spouse’s residence if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death . “

Proposition 8: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide an ad valorem exemption from taxation of all or part of the market value of the homestead residential property of the surviving spouse of a member of the United States armed forces who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.

Early voting ends Friday.

Election day is Tuesday, November 2.

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