Houston-area voters OK all three local propositions

More than half of the money from a $2.5 billion bond approved by Harris County voters Tuesday will be used to build a new trauma hospital and provide mental healthcare services at LBJ Hospital, officials said.

Houston City Council Members discuss the 2021 city budget at a meeting on June 2, 2021.
Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media
FILE: Houston City Council Members discuss the 2021 city budget at a meeting on June 2, 2021.

Houston-area voters approved all three local propositions on the ballot Tuesday, according to Election Day results released by the Harris County Clerk’s Office. Here’s what those propositions mean for Houston and Harris County.

City Houston Proposition A

Proposition A, passed by 83 percent of Houston voters, will give city council members more power to place items on weekly city council agendas. With the proposition’s passage, three or more city council members will have the power to add items to agendas.

A non-partisan group in 2021 collected over 40,000 signatures in support of the effort that would give council members more power at city hall. The effort by Urban Reform was backed by the Harris County Republican Party, Indivisible Houston, the Houston Professional Firefighters Association and the Democratic Socialists of America’s Houston chapter.

Before voters approved the proposition Tuesday, only the mayor had the power to place items on council agendas.

Outgoing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has publicly criticized the move in the past. Houston’s next mayor, either U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee or Texas Sen. John Whitmire, will be charged with assisting council members to add additional items on agendas in the future.

City of Houston Proposition B

More than 65 percent of Houstonians who voted OK’d Proposition B, which compels the city to negotiate for more proportional representation, based on its population, on the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). That would give Houston a bigger role on decision-making on the association of local governments and elected officials, which serves the 13-county Gulf Coast region.

The proposition will require the city to pull out of the H-GAC unless the organization grants the city more proportional representation. The move will add language to the city’s charter requiring that any council of governments or metropolitan planning organization adopt a population-proportional voting system, according to Fair for Houston, which petitioned to get the proposition on the ballot.

The effort will encourage a louder voice for Houston on decisions about transportation, flood control efforts and childcare vouchers, according to the organization.

The proposition was backed by a slate of Houston organizations and Houston mayoral candidates Jackson Lee and Whitmire.

Harris County Hospital District Proposition A

More than 72 percent of Harris County voters approved a $2.5 billion bond for improvements to the county’s safety-net public healthcare system.

More than half of the money from the bond will be used to build a new trauma hospital and provide mental healthcare services at LBL Hospital, Esmaeil Porsa, CEO of the Harris Health System, said.

Porsa said the money will keep the county’s hospitals from falling apart.

Those dollars also will go toward establishing new community clinics in northwest, southwest and east Harris County to reach high-density, low socio-economic communities. Money from the bond will also be used to add more inpatient rooms at the Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital.