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'I literally watched my mother die from a window' | Southeast Texas woman encourages community to vote in favor of proposition 6 at upcoming election

“Every human on the face of the earth deserves to die with dignity, and they deserve to have their family at their side when that happens.”

BEAUMONT, Texas — Depending on how Texans vote on Tuesday, a change could be in place for rules concerning families who have loved ones in extended care facilities.

There are eight state propositions on the ballot for the 2021 Constitutional Amendment and Joint Election. Proposition 6 deals with assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

If passed, proposition 6 would allow families to have an essential caregiver for in-person visitation who could not be denied visits. One Southeast Texas woman said she wished this would have been a rule during the pandemic.

Mary Barnette fought hard for the essential caregiver plan that eventually became law. Now, Barnette has made it her mission to fight just as hard for proposition 6.

“The pandemic made all the residents basically a ward of the state, and it took any power that a family had away from us,” Barnette said.

Related: Statewide, local propositions on ballot for 2021 Constitutional Amendment and Joint Election

Barnette is advocating for those who are in long-term care facilities, and for her, the mission is a personal one.

“When they moved to lockdown on nursing homes, they did it uneducated,” Barnette said. “I literally watched my mother die from a window.”

Barnette said she hopes no one ever has to endure what she went through.

“Proposition 6 is an amendment to the Texas constitution that ensures that never again this will happen under any circumstances,” she said. “Should any kind of emergency arise, they no longer can say, ‘Because our numbers are high, you're not allowed to go in.’ This will amend the constitution itself.”

Barnette hopes that voters will support this measure for future families.

“I think the advocacy group has reached alot of people,” Barnette said. “We have alot of senators that are behind us, and they're fighting for our fight as well.”

Barnette believes the end of anyone’s life should be spent around family.

“Every human on the face of the earth deserves to die with dignity, and they deserve to have their family at their side when that happens,” Barnette said.

If the proposition passes Tuesday, the legislature would create further guidelines for these caregivers, so nothing is a done deal yet.

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