By Staff

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At the start of the pandemic, churches limited services to virtual worship. Large in-person gatherings weren’t happening.

Now, Proposition 3 could stop that from ever happening again in Texas.

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During the most recent legislative session, attorney Jeremy Dys, with First Liberty Institute, testified about the effect the pandemic had on the places of worship he represents.

“State and local officials from around the country impeded on the rights of these houses of worship throughout the country to be able to do their mission during a time of the pandemic that it was critical,” he said. “In North Texas, we had churches that couldn’t even hand out food to people who are hungry during the pandemic because local officials said that might cause a problem.”

If approved, Prop. 3 would stop state or local governments from prohibiting or limiting religious services, even during a public health emergency.

“I would have a lot of concern about something that doesn’t have any exceptions or restrictions in these settings,” Dallas County Health Director Dr. Phillip Huang said.

Huang said when it comes to the pandemic, there’s no telling what the future holds and warns places of worship can be super spreader events.

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“It may be necessary to make some limitations to prevent the spread of communicable disease,” he said.

Also, on the ballot is Proposition 6.

If approved, it will allow nursing homes to designate one person who can not be denied an in-person visit to their loved one even during a public health emergency.

“That person that could be designated could be carrying a communicable disease, be contagious, so again I think it’s very concerning,” Huang said.

Supporters say this type of isolation can take a devastating toll on a person’s mental and physical health and say it’s something no person should have to experience.

Voters also will consider the following propositions:

• Proposition 1 would add rodeos to the list of professional sporting events that can hold raffles to raise money for charity.

• Proposition 2 would let counties pay for transportation needs in blighted or underdeveloped areas by taking advantage of rising property values — caused by the road projects — to pay off the transportation debt.

• Proposition 4 would change the eligibility requirements to serve on the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and intermediate appeals courts — clarifying that candidates must be a practicing lawyer or judge in Texas for at least 10 years under a law license that had not been revoked or suspended.

The amendment also would require state District Court judges to have served as a lawyer or judge in Texas for eight years, also under a law license that had not been revoked or suspended.

• Proposition 5 would let the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which investigates and takes disciplinary action against judges at all levels, accept complaints against judicial candidates as well.

• Proposition 7 would let disability-based homestead exemptions on property taxes continue for surviving spouses who are 55 or older when their disabled spouse dies.

• Proposition 8 would extend property tax breaks — already available to the spouse of a service member killed in action — to spouses of troops who were killed in the line of duty but not in combat.

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Erin Jones contributed to this report. Staff