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Election information: Proposition 2

Oct. 11, 2013 at 5:11 a.m.


Editor's Note: The Advocate is offering information about the upcoming constitutional amendment election Nov. 5. This feature, provided by the League of Women Voters, will look at the pros and cons of each of the nine amendments on the ballot. This is a look at Proposition 2.

Official ballot language

The constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.

Explanation

In 1952, voters amended the constitution to direct the Texas Legislature to create the State Medical Education Board (SMEB) and a scholarship fund to issue loans to medical students who agreed to practice in rural areas of Texas. In 1973, the Legislature created the SMEB. In 1987, the Legislative Budget Board reported that only 11 percent of loan recipients since 1973 were practicing in rural Texas counties, and only 14 percent of those were in medically underserved areas. No new loans have been issued since January 1988.

In 1989, after a recommendation by the Sunset Advisory Commission, the Legislature attached the SMEB to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). All existing loans have been serviced or turned over to the attorney general for default collection. Loan repayment programs are now used instead of direct loans to medical students to attract physicians to practice in rural Texas.

The proposed constitutional amendment and its enabling bill, HB 1061, would remove references to these defunct entities in the constitution and state law.

Arguments for

Since the SMEB and its education fund are no longer operational, references to them should be removed from the state's unwieldy constitution.

Arguments against

The SMEB and its education fund are obsolete and no loans have been issued since 1988, so a constitutional amendment to remove references to them is unnecessary.

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