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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Austin voters have 8 props to decide on in May. Here’s what they’re about

Austin voters will get the chance to vote on eight propositions in the May election.

AUSTIN, Texas — On May 1, Austin voters will have the chance to vote on eight propositions that could have lasting impacts across the city.

While you can see a sample Travis County ballot listed here, we know ballot language can be a little confusing at times. Here's a rundown on what your vote could really mean this year:

Proposition A

Firefighters union charter amendment between City of Austin and the Austin Firefighters Association

Ballot language: 

"Shall the City Charter be amended to give the Austin Firefighters Association, Local 975 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the authority to require the City to participate in binding arbitration of all issues in dispute with the Association if the City and the Association reach impasse in collective bargaining negotiations?"

Voting “yes” means:

Voting yes means that if the Austin Firefighters Association and the City of Austin reach an impasse, or a “deadlock,” in collective bargaining negotiations, then either side would have the ability to force labor negotiations into binding arbitration.

Voting “no” means:

Voting no would leave the charter unchanged. The next time the two sides will come to the negotiating table is spring 2022. The current six-year contract between the City and the Austin Firefighters Association expires in October 2022.

Proposition B

Reinstating the homeless camping ban ordinances

Ballot language: 

"Shall an ordinance be adopted that would create a criminal offense and a penalty for sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk or sleeping outdoors in and near the Downtown area and the area around the University of Texas campus; create a criminal offense and penalty for solicitation, defined as requesting money or another thing of value, at specific hours and locations or for solicitation in a public area that is deemed aggressive in manner; create a criminal offense and penalty for camping in any public area not designated by the Parks and Recreation Department?"

Voting “yes” means:

Voting yes would reinstate the City's camping ban. The ban would make it illegal to camp in certain places, to sit or lie on public sidewalks or outdoors in certain areas and to panhandle at night.

Voting “no” means:

Voting "no" would not reinstate the City's camping ban. Therefore, people who lay down or set up tents in the City would not be subject to police enforcement as long as they are not blocking a passageway.

RELATED: What is Proposition B on Austin's May ballot?

Proposition C

Process of appointing the director of police oversight

Ballot language: 

"Shall the city charter be amended to allow for a Director of Police Oversight to be appointed or removed in a manner established by City Council ordinance, with duties that include the responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability as it relates to policing?

Voting “yes” means:

Voting yes would allow the city council to create rules for appointing the director of police oversight through an ordinance.

Voting “no” means:

Voting no would keep the responsibility of appointing the director of police oversight through the city manager.

Proposition D

Changing the dates of Austin mayoral elections

Ballot language: 

"Shall the City Charter be amended to transition the election for mayor from gubernatorial election years to presidential election years, providing that the mayor elected in 2022 will serve a 2-year term and then mayoral elections will occur on the same date as presidential elections starting in 2024?"

Voting “yes” means:

Voting yes would change the mayor’s election dates from gubernatorial years to presidential years. If Prop D is passed, the mayor elected in 2022 would serve a two-year term and be up for re-election in the 2024 presidential election year. The mayor elected in 2024 would then begin serving a full four-year term.

Voting “no” means:

Voting no would make no changes to the dates of mayoral elections in Austin. Mayoral elections would continue to occur in gubernatorial election years and the mayor elected in 2022 would serve a full four-year term until 2026.

Proposition E

Creating a ranked-choice voting system

Ballot language:

"Shall the City Charter be amended to provide for the use of ranked-choice voting in city elections, if such voting is permitted by state law?"

Voting "yes" means:

Voting yes would allow voters to be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballots in future city council and mayoral races. When these ballots would be counted, the candidate with the least first-choice votes would be eliminated. Those ballots would then be recounted and redistributed using the voters' second-choice candidate. This process would repeat until one candidate has more than half of the votes.

Voting "no" means:

Local races would continue with each ballot casting a singular vote for a candidate. A winning candidate would still require more than 50% of the popular vote. The chances for run-off elections still remain.

Proposition F

Moving to a strong-mayor form of local government

Ballot language:

"Shall the City Charter be amended to change the form of city government from 'council-manager' to 'strong mayor-council', which will eliminate the position of professional city manager and designate an elected mayor as the chief administrative and executive officer of the city with veto power over all legislation which includes the budget; and with sole authority to hire and fire most department heads and direct staff; and with no articulated or stated charter authority to require the mayor to implement Council decisions?"

Voting "yes" means:

The mayor would become the No. 1 executive at Austin City Hall. This would eliminate the city manager position, paving the way for the mayor to spearhead hiring and firing department heads. The mayor would be required to sign off on legislation passed by the Austin City Council. The change would go into effect in 2023. 

Voting "no" means:

Austin would continue to work under a manager-council form of government, with the city manager remaining the top executive. The mayor would still be a voting member of the council.

RELATED: Explaining Proposition F on Austin's May ballot

Proposition G

Adding an 11th district for the Austin City Council

Ballot language:

"Shall the City Charter be amended to provide for an additional geographic council district which will result in 11 council members elected from single-member districts?"

Voting "yes" means:

As Austin's redistricting committee is now reworking the existing districts based on census data, they would also have to draw up an 11th district.

Voting "no" means:

The Austin City Council would continue working with 10 city council districts.

Proposition H

Establishing an alternative campaign finance system

Ballot language:

"Shall the City Charter be amended to adopt a public campaign finance program, which requires the city clerk to provide up to two $25 vouchers to every registered voter who may contribute them to candidates for city office who meet the program requirements?"

Voting "yes" means:

During March and July of office election years, registered voters would receive a $25 voucher for each city-elected race for the voter to cast a ballot in. The voter would be able to choose which candidate to donate to. This voucher would be taxpayer-funded.

Voting "no" means:

Campaign financing would remain the same, with individuals able to donate up to $300 per candidate.

Early voting kicks off on April 19 and lasts through April 27. Early voting hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Election Day voting locations will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a list of polling locations, click here.

EXPLAINING PROPOSITIONS A-H: