The El Paso Proposition K was a charter amendment presented on the May 6, 2023 ballot in El Paso, Texas. It aimed to address local energy and environmental concerns. Unfortunately, the proposition was defeated.
- Election Date: May 6, 2023
- Topic: Local energy and Local environment
- Status: Defeated
- Type: Initiative
El Paso Proposition K was an initiative that aimed to introduce several key changes in El Paso. However, it did not receive enough support and was ultimately defeated.
A “yes” vote supported the charter amendment, which had the following goals for El Paso:
Reducing the city’s contribution to climate change: This goal aimed to prioritize actions that would help decrease El Paso’s impact on climate change.
Investing in an environmentally sustainable future: The proposition sought to allocate resources towards sustainable practices and initiatives.
Advancing the cause of climate justice: This goal aimed to address the concept of climate justice, ensuring that vulnerable communities are not disproportionately affected by climate change.
Additionally, the proposition included several specific provisions, such as:
Requiring El Paso to use renewable energy sources, with the target of 100% renewable energy by 2045.
Promoting efforts to convert El Paso Electric to municipal ownership.
Prohibiting the sale or transfer of water for fossil fuel-related activities outside the city limits.
Prohibiting fees and fines that hinder the purchase, use, or generation of renewable energy.
Collaborating between the city manager and climate director to create climate jobs.
Establishing a nine-member Climate Commission appointed by the City Council and Mayor. The commission would make legislative recommendations and assist in monitoring the implementation of the charter amendment’s goals.
A “no” vote opposed the charter amendment, which would have prevented the addition of a new Article IX, titled Climate Policy, to the El Paso City Charter.
- Yes: 9,190 votes (18.43%)
- No: 40,680 votes (81.57%)
- Results certified
(Source: Election results)
What was Proposition K designed to do?
The charter amendment aimed to introduce the Climate Policy, a new article in the El Paso City Charter. The policy’s goals were to reduce the city’s contribution to climate change, invest in an environmentally sustainable future, and advance the cause of climate justice.
The amendment would have established the Climate Department and the role of Climate Director, responsible for implementing the policy goals. One requirement was providing a climate impact statement to the El Paso City Council before any climate policy-related vote. The Climate Director would have also collaborated with the City Manager to create climate jobs.
The proposed Climate Policy included an energy goal to transition El Paso to renewable energy sources. The target was to achieve 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2045. The policy also mentioned the creation of a solar energy plan and efforts to convert El Paso Electric to municipal ownership.
In addition to the energy goal, the Climate Policy would have addressed various other aspects, including:
- Infrastructure preparation for extreme weather events
- Banning the sale or transfer of city water for fossil fuel-related activities outside the city limits
- Prohibiting fees that limit the purchase, use, or generation of renewable energy
The charter amendment would have established a Climate Commission consisting of nine members appointed by the City Council and Mayor. The commission’s role would be to make legislative recommendations and investigate matters related to the implementation of the Climate Policy.
Previous Energy-Related Measures
In 2022, El Paso voters approved Proposition C, a bond measure that allocated $5.2 million for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This measure focused on solar panel installations, electric vehicle charging stations, bike path development, and green building standards.
Path to the Ballot
To get the citizen-initiated charter amendment on the 2023 ballot, organizers from Sunrise El Paso and Ground Game Texas submitted over 36,000 signatures on July 25, 2022. The initiative required at least 20,000 valid signatures to qualify. The city officials verified the signatures, and on November 11, 2022, determined that the threshold was met.
The El Paso City Council voted 5-3 on January 24, 2023, to include the climate charter amendment on the ballot.
Supporters and Opponents
Supporters of the proposition were led by the Ground Game Texas PAC. They aimed to advance the cause of the initiative, emphasizing the importance of addressing climate change. Other supporting organizations include Earthworks, El Paso Young Democrats, Justicia Fronteriza, Sunrise Movement, and Sunrise Movement El Paso.
Opponents of the proposition were represented by the Consumer Energy Alliance and Americans for Prosperity. The opposition campaigns received significant contributions from various sources, including El Paso Electric and the El Paso Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R) voiced his opposition to the proposed charter amendment.
Campaign finance reports revealed the financial aspects of the campaigns for and against the proposition. The Ground Game Texas PAC reported contributions of $41,114.35 and expenditures of $18,756.41. On the other hand, the opposition campaigns, Consumer Energy Alliance and Americans for Prosperity, reported combined contributions of $548,250.00 and expenditures of $562,306.64.
(Source: Campaign finance reports)
In a previous election in 2022, El Paso voters approved Proposition C, a bond measure that allocated $5.2 million for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. The measure aimed to invest in solar panel installations, green building standards, and other projects related to renewable energy and resource-use efficiency.
Voting in Texas
To cast a vote in Texas, voters must be registered residents of the county. The registration deadline is 30 days before the election. Texas does not practice automatic registration or online registration. Voters must present a valid photo identification while voting. Accepted forms of ID include a Texas driver’s license, Texas Election Identification Certificate, Texas Personal Identification Card, Texas handgun license, United States Military Identification Card, United States Citizenship Certificate, or United States passport.
(Source: Voting in Texas)