Return to October 2019 newsletter

Around the Capitol: Multiple elections in play; updates on the state’s finances and population

By Shayne Woodard, J Pete Laney and Lauren Spreen
TAD Governmental Affairs

Are you all registered and ready to vote? Election season is underway. First up is the Nov. 5 election on proposed state constitutional amendments (early voting starts Oct. 21). In a few areas of the state, ballots will include candidates for three state legislative seats that need to be filled with a special election after members resigned. Next up, state and federal candidates are lining up for March primaries and the November election next year.

Let’s take a look at the various ballots, starting with the Nov. 5 election.

Here’s a look at the 10 proposed amendments to the Texas constitution, with official language:

For more information on the Nov. 5 election, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

Special legislative elections

In three legislative districts, ballots will include candidates to fill Texas House seats vacated by resignations. A total of 27 candidates have filed for the vacant seats. Members who resigned are:

2020 elections – the latest

Of the 16 Texas Senate members who are up for reelection in 2020, one has announced retirement – SD 29, Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso). At this time, one candidate announced to fill the seat – Cesar Blanco, current Texas House member, who has the support of the entire El Paso legislative delegation.

Four incumbent House members have announced retirements:

Note: Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) announced Sept. 25 that he would not seek reelection – two days later he changed his mind.

All 36 members of the Texas Congressional delegation are up for reelection in 2020. Six incumbents have announced retirements:

An update on state revenue in fiscal year 2019

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar recently released totals for fiscal 2019 state revenues (the state’s fiscal year 2019 is from Sept. 1, 2018 to Aug. 31, 2019):

Hegar said, “Yearly revenues were in line with our projections in the revised Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE) released in May. As expected, the economy and state revenues continued to grow modestly.”

The Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), also known as the “Rainy Day Fund,” and State Highway Fund (SHF) both receive funding from oil and natural gas severance taxes. In November, the Comptroller’s office will deposit $1.67 billion in each of those funds, up from the $1.38 billion deposited in each fund in November 2018. The ESF is projected to have a balance of $7.8 billion at the end of fiscal 2020.

Changes in Texas’ population and demographics

The House Redistricting Committee kicked off its work recently with a presentation by the Texas State Demographer Dr. Lloyd B. Potter. The Texas Legislature is charged with redrawing (or redistricting) the state’s legislative and congressional districts based on population after each federal census.

Dr. Potter’s presentation included the following:

Not surprisingly, Texas’ biggest population gains occurred in its largest counties, while rural counties continue to lose residents. The 10 counties with the largest population declines since the 2010 census are: Castro (-959), Clay (-965), Parmer (-1,069), Kleberg (-1,074), Houston (-1,112), Lamb (-1,201), Deaf Smith (-1,229), Falls (-1,263), Presidio (-1,912), and Hale (-3,071).

Many of the same counties are expected to chart the state’s largest percentage population drops in the 2020 census Sabine (-8%), Hale (-8%), Lamb (-9%), Clay (-9%), Jeff Davis (-10%), Floyd (-10%), Parmer (-10%), Dickens (-11%), Castro (-12%), and Presidio (-24%).

Return to October 2019 newsletter