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.4.***-x” Weak Wage Bill Passed Austin It took ten years, but the Texas Legislature finally has passed a minimum wage bill. The measure, which has yet to be signed by the governor, is weak, but it was a near miracle that it survived this year’s contentious and, for the most part, unproductive session. Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes and House Speaker Gus Mutschef both exerted pressure to get the compromise bill through their respective houses. Barnes thwarted a number of filibusters against the bill in the Senate, and Mutscher blasted the measure out of the conservative House State Affairs Committee. The minimum wage was given final approval by the House only a day before adjournment. The Senate originally passed a bill that would have set a $1.60 state wage floor by 1972, but the House would go no higher than a $1.25 an hour minimum wage. In the end, both houses agreed on a two-step minimum wage of $1.25 in 1970 and $1.40 in 1971 \($1.40 an hour for a 40-hour week, 52 weeks a year adds up to $2,912 a estimated 2.5 million Texans not already covered by the $1.60 federal minimum wage. A number of categories of workers and businesses are exempted from the bill. Probably the most critical exemption is the one that excludes any business establishment with an annual sales volume less than $150,000 at the retail level. The federal law exempts any business which does less than $250,000 in sales a year. THE BILL has special provisions for agricultural workers, the group which more than any other dramatized the need for a state minimum wage. Farm workers are entitled under the bill to receive $1.10 an hour \(not less than 20 cents less than the federal hourly wage for agricultural the premises of his employer in quarters furnished by the employer is required to receive only $30 a week. Farm laborers working on a piece-rate basis have a special schedule of pay rates that will be worked out by the state agriculture commissioner. Farmers who do not use more than 300 man-days of agricultural labor during any calendar quarter are completely exempt from state minimum wage stipulations. Other exemptions in the state law include: A member of a religious order performing a service at the direction of his order, and ministers, priests, rabbis, sextons, or Christian Science readers performing services for their religious organizations. Any person younger than 18 years of age who is not a high school graduate or a graduate of a vocational training program. Any person employed as an outside salesman or collector paid on a commission basis. Any switchboard operator employed by an independently owned public telephone company which has not more than 750 stations. Any person who performs domestic services in or about a private home; baby sitters. Prisoners working in state penitentiaries or local jails. Any person employed by his brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son, daughter, spouse, parent, or parent-in-law. Any handicapped student not more than 21 years of age who is a client of vocational rehabilitation and participating in a cooperative school-work program. Any person employed by an amusement or recreational establishment, if the establishment does not operate more than seven months in any calendar year. CRIMINAL penalties for depriving an employee of his rightful wages are set at $100 to $500 in fines or 5 to 30 days in a county jail. Civil penalties make employers Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the State Week and Austin Forum-Advocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the-powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor, Greg Olds. Associate Editor, Kaye Northcott. Editor-at-large, Ronnie Dugger. Business Manager, C. R. Olofson. Business Manager Emeritus, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Lee Clark, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him.. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not, necessarily imply that he liable to pay workers the amount of their unpaid wages plus an additional equal amount in liquidated damages. Ten senators registered “no” votes on adoption of the conference committee report on the wage bill. They were A. M. Aikin of Paris, H. J. Blanchard of Lubbock, Wayne Connally of Floresville, Tom Creighton of Mineral Wells, 0. H. Harris of Dallas, William T. Moore of Bryan, David Ratliff of Stamford, W. E. Snelson of Midland, Murray Watson of Waco, and J. P. Word’ of Meridian. The House voted 89 to 60 to accept the compromise bill. House opponents fought the bill all the way. “This is just another move in that socialistic trend we should avoid,” Rep. Bill Clayton of Springlake argued when the conference report came up for approval. He said the bill would “create less jobs and hurt more people than it would protect.” Rep. Jim Nugent of Kerrville tried to remove agricultural workers from the bill, complaining, “We are disrupting a whole way of life.” There was little jubilation when the bill was finally passed, but House sponsors were heartened that the House had accepted the compromise bill, which is somewhat stronger than the version the House originally approved. K.N. agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 25c. One year, $6.00; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00; plus, for Texas addressees, 4% state sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Air-mail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas 78705. Telephone 477-0746. Editor’s residence phone, 472-3631. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. Form 3579 regarding undelivered copies: Send to Texas Observer, 504 W. 24th, Austin, Texas 78705. Subscription Representatives: Arlington, George N. Green, 300 E. South College St., 277-0080; Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, 465-1805; Beaumont, Betty Brink, 2255 Harrison, 835-5278; Corpus Christi, Penny Dudley, 12241/2 Second St., 884-1460; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, 821-1205; El Paso, Philip Himelstein, 331 Rainbow Circle, 584-3238; Ft. Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., 924-9655; Houston, Mrs. Kitty Peacock, PO Box 13059, 523-0685; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, 694-2825; Snyder, Enid Turner, 2210 30th St., 443-9497 or 443-6061; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 204 Terrell Road, 826-3583; Wichita Falls, Jerry Lewis, 2910 Speedway, 766-0409. Washington, D.C., Mrs. Martha J. Ross, 6008 Grosvenor Lane, 530-0884. THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1969 A Journal of Free Voices 63rd YEARESTABLISHED 1906 A Window to the South Vol. LXI, No. 11 70e0 June 20 1969