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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 26, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas PROPOSITION 4 The constitutional amendment authorizing the denial of bail to a criminal defendant who violates a condition of the defendants release pending SJR 17 Sponsors Staples and Gattis Explanation Under present if a criminal defendant is not brought to trial within 90 days of his he or she must be offered There are five exceptions a a defendant in a capital case when the proof is b a twice convicted felon accused of another c a defendant accused of a felony while on bail for a d a prior felon accused of a felony with a deadly e a felon on statesupervised parole accused of a violent or sexual If this amendment would add a sixth exception to a prisoners right to A district judge would have the option to revoke bail and deny further bail to a defendant in a felony case who violates a condition of release related to the safety of a victim of the alleged offense or to the safety of the Arguments For Without the exception proposed in this a criminal defendant is guaranteed the right to release on bail after each This proposition would protect crime victims and the public from violent offenders who now have the right to seek bail even if they have violated the conditions of their Arguments Against This amendment is It could result in pretrial measures being harsher than penalties that might result from the defendants This amendment could cause an additional burden to county The current statewide average incarceration rate is per according to the Texas Commission on Jail PROPOSITION 5 The constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to define rates of interest for commercial SJR 21 Sponsors Averitt and Flynn Explanation Current state law limits interest rates on all including commercial The proposed amendment would allow the Legislature to designate a class of large commer cial loans as exempt commercial loans that would be exempt from interest Higher rates would thus be allowed on certain exempt commercial Interest ceilings currently imposed by Texas law apply only to Texasbased banks and financial Banks that are outside of or banks in Texas whose headquarters are outside the may provide commercial loans at higher rates than Texasbased As a there are few large banks headquartered in Enabling legislation has been passed HB 955 that defines exempt commercial loans as any commercial loan of million or more that is secured primarily by real or any loan of or more that is not secured by real Arguments For Most states 46 do not set rates for commercial so their financial institutions have greater freedom to structure large or more risky commercial Often Texas lenders cannot get sufficient yield to make larger loans the majority of commercial loans in Texas are made by outofstate Adopting this proposition would make Texas banks more competitive and eliminate a disincentive for large banks to locate their headquarters in Since the proposed amendment is directed only at large commercial smaller commercial borrowers would still be protected by interest rate ceilings placed on Texasbased Arguments Against The interest rate ceilings were created to protect borrowers from usurious lending The proposed amendment could be a first step in eliminating this Texas should not follow the dangerous lead of some states that have exempted all commercial lending from interest rate Regardless of whether the proposed amendment is all commercial borrowers would still be able to contract with outofstate PROPOSITION 6 The constitutional amendment to include one additional public member and a constitutional county court judge in the membership of the State Commission on Judicial HJR 87 Sponsors Farabee and Lindsey Explanation The State Commission on Judicial Conduct is responsible for investigating allegations of judicial misconduct or judicial and for disciplining This commission has or over about 3300 judges and judicial The State Commission on Judicial Conduct now consists of 11 appointed commission members who each serve sixyear and a staff of The members by law include one Justice of a Court of one District two State Bar one Justice of the one Municipal Court one County Court at Law and four members of the public who may not be lawyers or public The amendment would increase the number of commission members to thirteen The two additional members would be a Judge of a Constitutional County Court the County Judge who chairs the County Commissioners and an additional public The amendment increases the quorum from six to seven In the residence requirements of some of the commission members are three are appointed at large and eight from varying appellate court This amendment specifies that six the Court of Appeals the District the two State Bar the County Court at Law and the CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PROCESS Texas voters have approved 432 amendments to the Texas Constitution since its adoption in An amendment is proposed in a joint resolution that can originate in either house of the state during a regular or special A joint resolution specifies the election date and may contain more than one The joint resolution must receive a vote of two thirds of each house before it is presented to the The governor cannot veto a joint although he may veto the enabling a bill to enact the amendment if it is passed by Not all joint resolutions require enabling If the voters reject an the legislature may resubmit The legislature prescribes the ballot and it is contained in the joint Once the amendment is approved by both houses of the the Secretary of State writes a brief explanatory which is approved by the Attorney The Secretary of State also conducts a random drawing to assign each proposition a ballot The constitution specifies that these statements be published twice in each newspaper in the state that prints official notices the first 50 to 60 days before the and the second the following Amendments take effect when the official vote canvass confirms statewide voter unless a later date is
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