Texans vote on amendment to protect farming
(KTEN) — There are 14 different propositions on the ballot in the Texas constitutional amendment election this year.
Fannin County Clerk Tammy Biggar says only 1 percent of registered voters typically cast a ballot in elections like this, but they affect everyone living in Texas.
One of the 14 amendments being considered has caught the attention of farmers in Texoma.
"Agriculture has been one of the No. 1 economic drivers of Texas since Texas was formed," said state Rep. Reggie Smith (R-District 62).
Tuesday's election will determine whether or not 14 different amendments are added to the Texas Constitution.
Proposition 1, if passed, would prevent municipal governments from regulating the use of farmland.
"We need to make sure that our food sources are protected, and we cant do that if agricultural land is being threatened by municipalities," Smith said.
This amendment would let farmers and ranchers manage their land without government involvement.
"If I want put a crop in, I can; or if I don't, I'll let it lay out for a year," said Bill White, who owns a 160-acre farm in Sherman. "It's up to me. This is my livelihood, and we turn this into money."
White's parents brought the land back in the 1950s, and he's lived there his whole life.
"Not just me — a land owner — but everybody that has little land, small acreages, big acreages... you still need to be able to go and do what you want to on your land without big restrictions."
Smith explained that while many of these amendments may seem unrelated, they're aimed to address the same issue.
"Texas is growing so fast, and our cities are expanding so quickly, that we believe what we needed to do is make sure that folks who are involved in agriculture production of all different kinds had rights under the Texas Constitution," the lawmaker said.
On Monday, we'll review two of the other amendments Texans can vote on that also relate to the state's population growth.
Election Day is next Tuesday, November 7. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.