Texas House OKs ending Austin residency rule for politicians

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas House has passed a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow statewide officeholders to live somewhere other than Austin.

Drafted by tea party-backed Sen. Donna Campbell, the proposal would excuse the governor and other officials elected by voters statewide form living in the state capital. It already cleared the Senate.

As a proposed constitutional amendment, it needed two-thirds House support, or 100 minimum votes. It barely cleared that threshold Wednesday, passing 102 to 43.

The measure puts a referendum on this November's general election ballot. It lets voters decide whether to change the Texas Constitution, scraping a statewide officeholder residency requirement dating back to 1876.

The ballot question is expected to cost the state nearly $120,000. But Campbell argues that modern technology has made the requirement obsolete.

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