Local officials expressed their gratitude for Parker County after voters approving propositions related to state parks and the historical commission, and the adoption of law enforcement K9s.

Proposition 5 dedicates the revenue received from the existing state sales and use tax that is imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission. The proposition was passed by Parker County voters, with 89.28% voting for and 10.72% voting against.

“Texas Parks and Wildlife will begin seeing funding from the Proposition 5 funds in 2022. This will allow staff to strategically plan projects in advance knowing that the same percentage of the sporting goods tax will be appropriated to the agency each biennium, which will allow the agency to efficiently address the needs of the state parks system,” Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway Superintendent Nikki Elms said. “We are thankful for the support that the citizens of Texas have shown to Texas Parks and Wildlife in voting for Proposition 5.”

Proposition 5 changed the Texas Constitution so that the tax can only be given to the two entities instead of using some of the money to balance the state budget, which, according to Rep. John P. Cyrier, R-Lockhart, has been done in the past.

“For too long, state lawmakers have entrusted the hardworking leaders and personnel of our state parks system with a very important job but did not give them the resources they needed to accomplish it,” Cyrier, who pushed the initial legislation, said in a Texas Tribune article.

The proposition is also beneficial for the Texas Historical Commission.

“The Parker County Historical Commission is certainly very pleased to have this tax revenue dedicated to these two important areas,” Parker County Historical Commission Chair Janice Smith said. “The passage makes income needed for preservation, more secure.”

Voters also changed the Texas Constitution with the passing of Proposition 10, which allows the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances — basically, allows handlers to adopt their law enforcement animal, like a K9 officer, free of charge.

The Weatherford Police Department has a K9 unit and shared their thoughts about the proposition passing.

“I’m very thankful for the support of the Texas voters,” WPD K9 Corporal Chris Bumpas said. “Like everyone’s animals, K9 Jack is a part of my family. He works hard for the police department and deserves to live peacefully at home when he retires.”

Previously, the constitution required law enforcement animals to be sold/auctioned or destroyed when no longer in use. Parker County voters overwhelmingly approved the proposition, with 96.63% voting for and 3.37% voting against.

“The overwhelming support shown by Texas voters effectively captures how we feel about this issue. We think of K9 Jack as a vital member of our department and more importantly, a member of our law enforcement family,” WPD Chief Lance Arnold said. “I don’t believe anyone would consider him surplus property to be disposed of at the end of his service to us. Most police K9s live with their handlers and they become a member of the handler’s family too. Handlers and families should have the option to continue to love on and care for their partners long after their service to the department and community is over. I strongly believe our community would want that for Jack.”

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