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Better Know Your Ballot: Prop 3 Would Allow State Officials to Opt Out of Austin Residency

Liang Shi/KUT News
A proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution would allow some state officials to live outside of Austin.

The third of seven propositions on the Texas ballot this Election Day would change the requirement for some statewide elected officials to live in Austin.

Prop 3’s passage would mean the governor would be required to live in the Governor's Mansion, but the rest of the statewide elected officials would have the option of living outside of Austin. Though, it's likely they would still have a place around Austin so they can get to their Texas Capitol offices quickly.

But, if passed, the proposition would amend the constitutional provision saying they must live inside the city limits. The measure was carried by New Braunfels Sen. Donna Campbell, but it was Austin Sen. Kirk Watson who explained the reasoning for the Austin living requirement in the first place. It dates way back to the early days of the state of Texas.

“The reason this was a constitutional provision was because it was difficult to communicate and get back to Austin when you needed folks in Austin,” Watson says. “And, so, there was a requirement that if you're elected to be in one of the executive branch offices, you would locate in the city.”

If Prop 3 passes, the Attorney General, Land Commissioner and Comptroller could all start telecommuting from outside Austin.

Credit Screengrab via Texas State Library and Archives Commission
An excerpt from the Texas Constitution that requires certain state officials to live in Austin.

This is part three in the KUT’s series Better Know Your Ballot, which examines each of the seven constitutional propositions on this November’s ballot in Texas.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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