Vote ‘no’ on amendments

By D.A. Sharpe | Published Saturday, October 21, 2017

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We have a series of seven amendments to the Texas Constitution proposed by the Texas State Legislature, to be on the ballot in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Anybody wanting to see what the state legislature says about them, the backgrounds, the pros and the cons, may visit this 57-page posting on the State Legislature’s website: wcmess.com/prosandcons

My study of these seven proposed amendments reveal they all reflect good intentions, mostly seeking to specify benefits for some segment of the population perceived as needing help. What concerns me is HOW we are asked to go about rendering help to these good causes.

First, let’s think about what is a constitution, either for a state or a national government? The definition I’ve found says, “A constitution is a body of basic laws and principles that describes the general organization and operation of the state and contains fundamental principles and norms that underlie and guide all government action. Given the fundamental nature of a constitution and its role in laying a groundwork to shape and support the state, a constitution is usually expected to be longstanding and somewhat diffcult to change or undo.”

The principles are expressed in relatively simple, basic terms. Whatever additional specificities that may be needed are expected to be expressed in the legislative works of the governing body (legislatures or congress). Such specificities may be modified as needs change as supported by the legislature or the congress. A constitution, on the other hand, is much more challenging to amend, and that character is intended so that whimsical swings in the population’s thoughts do not make premature changes.

An example of a very controversial United States Constitution’s provision is the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Most people would agree that further regulation is needed for the management of such firearm provisions. We have very detailed laws that the state legislatures have each developed for themselves.

My perception is that our current seven proposed amendments to the Texas State Constitution fall into the category of being expressed more effectively in legislative actions. These proposals are introducing a growing degree of details and complications into our state constitution that are beginning to clutter the primary constitutional document.

All the subjects seeking to be benefited in these proposals are legitimate good causes. My advice is to vote against them all. Let the state representatives and senators develop the needed legislation.

That’s my view, and it is not from the standpoint of being an obstructionist! I hope you’d think about it before you vote.

D.A. Sharpe

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