The Other Amendments Austin will consider seven other changes in the state Constitution on Aug. 5. AMENDMENT NO. 1 is to remove deadwood, obsolete sections, from the Constitution. Among these are such things as provisions for segregated public schools, allowing the Legislature to appropriate money for the Texas Centennial in 1936, and sections giving the Legislature powers which are clearly implied in the Constitution’s general grant of legislative power in Article II, and which are commonly viewed as within a state’s “police powers” \(such. as permitting the creation of a Board of Health and Vital Statistics, providing for This proposal was one of three major ones made by the Constitution Revision Commission established by the House of Representatives in 1967. Other recommendations of the commission clearly were unlikely to be passed by the votersor proved unpopular with a majority of legislators, so were not submitted to the electorate. AMENDMENT NO. 3 provides for a pay raise for legislators, the speaker, and lieutenant governor, all of whom now get $4,800 annually,_ plus $12 per diem for the first 120 days of a 140-day session. Several attempts at such an increase have been tried. The last raise was in 1960. In 1965 voters defeated an amendment that would have let the Legislature set the salaries of the lieutenant governor and speaker. In 1968 an amendment raising legislators’ salaries to $8,400 was narrowly beaten, by 31,000 votes. Amendment No. 3 would permit legislators to set their own pay no higher than the salary of district judges \(presently $18,000 a year, raised to $19,000 in the two legislative leaders \(the speaker and 18 The Texas Observer MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. .CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. Spanish Village. 2nd Friday every month. From noon. All welcome. ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, 5c a word. We must receive them two weeld before the date of the issue in which they are to be published. much as half the salary of the governor would, with passage of the amendment, raise the maximum their own salaries could be any time they increased the pay of judges, and would increase their leaders’ potential pay by giving the governor a raise. If the amendment passes the Legislature, legislators’ salaries automatically will be increased to $6,800, and the leadership’s salaries will be raised to $20,000, according to a bill passed this spring, contingent on approval of Amendment No. 3. Some here think the legislators purposely did not make their raises the maximum permitted under the amendment so as to avoid giving voters the idea that passage of the amendment would mean the lawmakers will take full advantage of it. A number of observers, Gov. Preston Smith among them, believe that legislative pay raises must, to win voter approval, be coupled with a conflict of interest measure governing the activities of lawmakers. Several proposals were offered in the Legislature this spring to establish a commission, independent of legislative control, to watchdog the ethics of the legislators. All such proposals failed. One such was aimed at handling conflicts of interest. This measure passed by the Senate late in this year’s regular session but died in the House. The House State Affairs Committee approved the Senate bill on the day before adjournment but then the Rules Committee sat on it, killing the measure. AMENDMENT NO. 4 would exempt nonprofit water supply corporations from ad valorem taxes. The corporations ently there are some 450 such units in Texas, expected to increase to more than 700 by the end of the year, serving more than a half million Texans. When first established, the corporations were not subject to local taxation. But a State Supreme Court decision last year changed that. Proponents of the amendment contend .that cutstomers of such corporations pay more for water than city dwellers and, more to the point, municipal water systems are not taxable locally so why should an equivalent form of governmental service, the rural water supply corporation, be so taxed? AMENDMENT NO. 6 is in recognition of soaring interest rates nationally, and would permit several state agencies higher limitations on the interest rates paid in selling their bonds. Affected primarily are the Texas Park Development Fund, the Texas Water Development Fund, the Veterans Land Fund, and the Texas Opportunity Plan Fund \(a college student loan mum rates for such bonds. The issue evidently cuts across liberalconservative lines, as witnessed by its passage to submission to the electorate. For example, in the House, where passage was 120-20, among the 20 opponents were both conservatives, who felt that removing the limit on interest rates would be inflationary, and liberals, who probably were wary of its relationship to the state water bonds. AMENDMENT NO. 7 would permit the Legislature to extend death benefits to the survivors of volunteer firemen, volunteer policemen, and correctional personnel of the Texas Youth Council killed in the line of duty. This is based on an amendment passed in 1966 permitting benefits of $10,000 to widows and a pension for the minor children of paid policemen, firemen, and guards of the prison system killed on duty. AMENDMENT NO. 8 would permit the Legislature to increase to $200 million Opportunity Loan Program. The program was authorized by the Legislature in 1965 allowing the Coordinating Board, Texas College and University System, to sell $85 million in bonds. More than half the money has been used, and there are increasing demands for loans to students through the program. Rep. George Hinson, Mineola, House sponsor of the amendment this spring, says the program has been very successful, and “defaults in repayments have been practically zero.” If the amendment fails it, is understood that funds supporting the ‘program will be exhausted by next January. AMENDMENT NO. 9 would provide for annual sessions of the Legislature-140 days in odd-numbered years, 60 days in even-numbered years. In the past, annual sessions and legislative pay increases have been submitted to voters as one proposed amendment, failing each time, in 1949 and in 1958. In the past it has been unclear other. This year, the two issues being more clear expression of voter sentiment on the matters is possible. The trend among the states is towards annual sessions. Iri Texas, between 1931 and 1969, there have been 27 special sessions, meaning the state, de facto, is on a limited annual session basis now. The Legislature will be in special session when the vote occurs on the amendments. There is talk that if No. 9 passes, the Legislature may draw up another one-year appropriations bill. If annual sessions pass but the pay raise fails, legislators would thereby have been voted a pay cut, working almost double-time for the same pay as at present. G.O., M.O.
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