B How is the Texas Constitution changed?
As you’ve read in your text, changes to the Texas Constitution are proposed by the state legislature, but can only be approved by a majority vote in a statewide election. In 2017, voters adopted all seven amendments proposed by the state legislature. In 2019, legislators proposed ten amendments for voter consideration, all but one of which passed. This year, legislators are proposing eight changes to the state constitution for your consideration in a November election, one of which would prohibit the state or any local government from prohibiting or limiting religious services.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from making any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. During the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, emergency orders from Governor Greg Abbott and local orders from mayors and county judges closed schools and businesses, and prohibited gatherings of people in order to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. While most Texans understood the extraordinary threat, some feel it is inappropriate for the government to prohibit religious gatherings, even for a legitimate public health reason.
Is this a good idea? On the one hand, the right to freely practice religion is a sacred right, guaranteed in our Constitution. On the other hand, in a pandemic, a deadly virus or bacteria can spread easily when groups of people are gathered together. The reason for the gathering is irrelevant. A virus doesn’t care whether you’re worshiping at a church, mosque or synagogue, or if you’re partying at a nightclub or working out at the gym.
Write a 2 -5 page (double-spaced, normal font and margins, cited sources, etc.) essay about S.J.R. 27 . Make sure you essay tells your reader:
1. How could this actually become part of the Texas Constitution? (Go through the process by which it has to pass both the House and Senate, then get a majority of voters to agree)
2. What is this proposal designed to do?
3. Who do you think might be for and against this?
4. What potential problems could this create, if any?
5. How would you vote on this if you were a state legislator, and why?
6. How did you vote (or would have voted) on this as a voter, and why?
Submit in Word (.docx). Cite your sources.
Here’s S.J.R. 27:
Ballotpedia News has a good article:
CBS Austin posted this article:
Just for context, here’s a good analysis of all of last year’s proposed amendments from the Texas Legislative Council: