Sec. 52. RESTRICTIONS ON LENDING CREDIT OR MAKING GRANTS BY POLITICAL CORPORATIONS OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS; AUTHORIZED BONDS; INVESTMENT OF FUNDS.
(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, the Legislature shall have no power to authorize any county, city, town or other political corporation or subdivision of the State to lend its credit or to grant public money or thing of value in aid of, or to any individual, association or corporation whatsoever, or to become a stockholder in such corporation, association or company. However, this section does not prohibit the use of public funds or credit for the payment of premiums on nonassessable property and casualty, life, health, or accident insurance policies and annuity contracts issued by a mutual insurance company authorized to do business in this State.
(b) Under Legislative provision, any county, political subdivision of a county, number of adjoining counties, political subdivision of the State, or defined district now or hereafter to be described and defined within the State of Texas, and which may or may not include, towns, villages or municipal corporations, upon a vote of two-thirds majority of the voting qualified voters of such district or territory to be affected thereby, may issue bonds or otherwise lend its credit in any amount not to exceed one-fourth of the assessed valuation of the real property of such district or territory, except that the total bonded indebtedness of any city or town shall never exceed the limits imposed by other provisions of this Constitution, and levy and collect taxes to pay the interest thereon and provide a sinking fund for the redemption thereof, as the Legislature may authorize, and in such manner as it may authorize the same, for the following purposes to wit:
(1) The improvement of rivers, creeks, and streams to prevent overflows, and to permit of navigation thereof, or irrigation thereof, or in aid of such purposes.
(2) The construction and maintenance of pools, lakes, reservoirs, dams, canals and waterways for the purposes of irrigation, drainage or navigation, or in aid thereof.
(3) The construction, maintenance and operation of macadamized, graveled or paved roads and turnpikes, or in aid thereof.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection (b) of this Section, bonds may be issued by any county in an amount not to exceed one-fourth of the assessed valuation of the real property in the county, for the construction, maintenance, and operation of macadamized, graveled, or paved roads and turnpikes, or in aid thereof, upon a vote of a majority of the voting qualified voters of the county, and without the necessity of further or amendatory legislation. The county may levy and collect taxes to pay the interest on the bonds as it becomes due and to provide a sinking fund for redemption of the bonds.
(d) Any defined district created under this section that is authorized to issue bonds or otherwise lend its credit for the purposes stated in Subdivisions (1) and (2) of Subsection (b) of this section may engage in fire-fighting activities and may issue bonds or otherwise lend its credit for fire-fighting purposes as provided by law and this constitution.
(e) A county, city, town, or other political corporation or subdivision of the state may invest its funds as authorized by law.
(Amended Nov. 8, 1904; Subsecs. (a) and (b) amended and (c) added Nov. 3, 1970; Subsec. (d) added Nov. 7, 1978; Subsec. (a) amended Nov. 4, 1986; Subsec. (e) added Nov. 7, 1989; Subsecs. (a), (b), and (c) amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 52: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 52-a. PROGRAMS AND LOANS OR GRANTS OF PUBLIC MONEY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Notwithstanding any other provision of this constitution, the legislature may provide for the creation of programs and the making of loans and grants of public money, other than money otherwise dedicated by this constitution to use for a different purpose, for the public purposes of development and diversification of the economy of the state, the elimination of unemployment or underemployment in the state, the stimulation of agricultural innovation, the fostering of the growth of enterprises based on agriculture, or the development or expansion of transportation or commerce in the state. Any bonds or other obligations of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state that are issued for the purpose of making loans or grants in connection with a program authorized by the legislature under this section and that are payable from ad valorem taxes must be approved by a vote of the majority of the registered voters of the county, municipality, or political subdivision voting on the issue. A program created or a loan or grant made as provided by this section that is not secured by a pledge of ad valorem taxes or financed by the issuance of any bonds or other obligations payable from ad valorem taxes of the political subdivision does not constitute or create a debt for the purpose of any provision of this constitution. An enabling law enacted by the legislature in anticipation of the adoption of this amendment is not void because of its anticipatory character.
(Added Nov. 3, 1987; amended Nov. 8, 2005.)
Sec. 52-b. LOAN OF STATE’S CREDIT, GRANT OF PUBLIC MONEY, OR ASSUMPTION OF DEBT FOR TOLL ROAD PURPOSES. The Legislature shall have no power or authority to in any manner lend the credit of the State or grant any public money to, or assume any indebtedness, present or future, bonded or otherwise, of any individual, person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, public corporation, public agency, or political subdivision of the State, or anyone else, which is now or hereafter authorized to construct, maintain or operate toll roads and turnpikes within this State except that the Legislature may authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to expend, grant, or loan money, from any source available, for the acquisition, construction, maintenance, or operation of turnpikes, toll roads, and toll bridges.
(Added Nov. 2, 1954; amended Nov. 5, 1991, and Nov. 6, 2001.)
Sec. 52-c. (Blank.)
Sec. 52d. COUNTY OR ROAD DISTRICT TAX FOR ROAD AND BRIDGE PURPOSES IN HARRIS COUNTY. (a) Upon the vote of a majority of the qualified voters so authorizing, a county or road district may collect an annual tax for a period not exceeding five (5) years to create a fund for constructing lasting and permanent roads and bridges or both. No contract involving the expenditure of any of such fund shall be valid unless, when it is made, money shall be on hand in such fund.
(b) At such election, the Commissioners’ Court shall submit for adoption a road plan and designate the amount of special tax to be levied; the number of years said tax is to be levied; the location, description, and character of the roads and bridges; and the estimated cost thereof. The funds raised by such taxes shall not be used for purposes other than those specified in the plan submitted to the voters. Elections may be held from time to time to extend or discontinue said plan or to increase or diminish said tax. The Legislature shall enact laws prescribing the procedure hereunder.
(c) The provisions of this section shall apply only to Harris County and road districts therein.
(Added Aug. 23, 1937; amended Nov. 2, 1999.) (TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 52d: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 52e. COUNTY PAYMENT OF MEDICAL EXPENSES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS. Each county in the State of Texas is hereby authorized to pay all medical expenses, all doctor bills and all hospital bills for Sheriffs, Deputy Sheriffs, Constables, Deputy Constables and other county and precinct law enforcement officials who are injured in the course of their official duties; providing that while said Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, Constable, Deputy Constable or other county or precinct law enforcement official is hospitalized or incapacitated that the county shall continue to pay his maximum salary; providing, however, that said payment of salary shall cease on the expiration of the term of office to which such official was elected or appointed. Provided, however, that no provision contained herein shall be construed to amend, modify, repeal or nullify Article 16, Section 31, of the Constitution of the State of Texas.
(Added Nov. 11, 1967.)
Sec. 52f. PRIVATE ROAD WORK BY COUNTIES WITH POPULATION OF 7,500 OR LESS. A county with a population of 7,500 or less, according to the most recent federal census, may construct and maintain private roads if it imposes a reasonable charge for the work. The Legislature by general law may limit this authority. Revenue received from private road work may be used only for the construction, including right-of-way acquisition, or maintenance of public roads.
(Added Nov. 4, 1980; amended Nov. 3, 2015.)
Sec. 52g. DALLAS COUNTY BOND ISSUES FOR ROADS AND TURNPIKES. Bonds to be issued by Dallas County under Section 52(b)(3) of Article III of this Constitution may, without the necessity of further or amendatory legislation, be issued upon a vote of a majority of the voting qualified voters of said county, and bonds heretofore or hereafter issued under Subsections (a) and (b) of said Section 52 shall not be included in determining the debt limit prescribed in said Section. (Added Nov. 5, 1968; amended Nov. 4, 1997, and Nov. 2, 1999.)
(TEMPORARY TRANSITION PROVISIONS for Sec. 52g: See Appendix, Note 1.)
Sec. 52h. DONATIONS BY MUNICIPALITIES OF OUTDATED OR SURPLUS FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT TO UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES. A municipality may donate to an underdeveloped country outdated or surplus equipment, supplies, or other materials used in fighting fires.
(Added Nov. 6, 2001.)
Sec. 52i. DONATIONS BY MUNICIPALITIES OF SURPLUS FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT FOR RURAL FIRE PROTECTION. (a) A municipality may donate surplus equipment, supplies, or other materials used in fighting fires to the Texas Forest Service or to a successor agency authorized to cooperate in the development of rural fire protection plans.
(b) The Texas Forest Service or the successor agency may, based on need, redistribute to rural volunteer fire departments the equipment, supplies, or materials donated under Subsection (a).
(Added Sept. 13, 2003.)
Sec. 52j. SALE OF REAL PROPERTY ACQUIRED THROUGH EMINENT DOMAIN. A governmental entity may sell real property acquired through eminent domain to the person who owned the real property interest immediately before the governmental entity acquired the property interest, or to the person’s heirs, successors, or assigns, at the price the entity paid at the time of acquisition if:
(1) the public use for which the property was acquired through eminent domain is canceled;
(2) no actual progress is made toward the public use during a prescribed period of time; or
(3) the property is unnecessary for the public use.
(Added Nov. 6, 2007.)
Sec. 52k. COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL BONDS OR NOTES TO ACQUIRE LAND ADJACENT TO MILITARY INSTALLATIONS. The legislature by general law may authorize a municipality or county to issue bonds or notes to finance the acquisition of buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to a military installation for the prevention of encroachment or for the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation. The municipality or county may pledge increases in ad valorem tax revenues imposed in the area by the municipality, county, or other political subdivisions for repayment of the bonds or notes.
(Added Nov. 3, 2009.)
Sec. 52l. DONATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ANIMAL. The legislature may authorize a state agency or a county, a municipality, or other political subdivision to transfer a law enforcement dog, horse, or other animal to the animal’s handler or another qualified caretaker for no consideration on the animal’s retirement or at another time if the transfer is in the animal’s best interest.
(Added Nov. 5, 2019.)