Ben Barnes Discusses Attempts at Constitutional Revision in the 1970s
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Ben Barnes Discusses Attempts at Constitutional Revision in the 1970s

>>Well, I think we created and funded the Texas
Cherish Development Agency. That was very, very important. We created the Air Control Board and the Water Rights
Commission on Pollution. We passed some pollution laws
and put some real teeth in it. We created the Texas Industrial
Commission, and really funded it at levels where we could go out
and really create jobs and be of assistance to small and
middle-sized communities that needed jobs to be
able to keep their towns and communities intact. But we created a very
fine junior college system and funded it for the first
time to a sufficient level. Texas, at that time, had a very
fine junior college system. And we created several new
vocational technical training schools where kids could go
and receive training to be able to make a living
and not have to — and if they weren’t college
material or for one reason or another they didn’t
want to go to college. We passed a minimum farm wage that gave agriculture
workers a wage that they could make
a good living. We did tort reform
from the standpoint that we passed the
tort claims act where the political subdivisions
could be held liable if a bus driver injured school
children while driving buses. We passed 4-year terms
that enabled Texans to have their state
officials not run in presidential election years
where they could be active in presidential campaigns. We passed a constitutional
amendment and we called a constitutional
convention in 1972 that was very important. Unfortunately, the new
constitution failed only by a few thousand votes,
but there incumbent governor at that time did not
necessarily support the constitutional convention. I’ll always think it was
probably because it was my idea, but anyway, the constitution
barely failed. And that’s something that the
legislature and the people of Texas need get done
in the near future.

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