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Texas Politics - The Constitution
Trying to rewrite the Texas Constitution Trying to rewrite the Texas Constitution
6.2    Recent Attempts at Constitutional Revision

Despite Lieutenant Governor Hobby's prediction, the collapse of the 1975 constitutional revision effort did not end attempts to modify or more fundamentally change the Constitution.

Just four years later, in 1979, the 66th Legislature submitted to voters six amendments that would implement some of the provisions from the 1974 convention. Voters ratified three of them, including:

  • creating in each county a single property tax appraisal district
  • giving criminal appellate jurisdiction to the state's fourteen courts of appeals, which until then exercised only civil jurisdiction
  • granting the Governor limited authority to remove appointed statewide officials

Of course this new degree of empowerment of state and local government did little to streamline the Constitution. Continuing dissatisfaction led to two other major attempts at fundamental revision, both in the 1990s.

In 1995 Senator John Montford (D-Lubbock) drew up a streamlined constitution similar to the one produced in the revision effort of the early 1970s. However, Montford resigned his position in the state Senate in 1996 to become chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, and his initiative to revise the Constitution died.

Shortly thereafter, in 1998, Senator Bill Ratliff (R-Mt. Pleasant) and Representative Rob Junell (D-San Angelo) produced a completely rewritten version of the 1876 Constitution with the help of Angelo State University students. In the 76th Legislature, the two legislators introduced for consideration a second draft of their streamlined constitution. The proposed legislation did not receive enough support in committee and consequently was never considered on the floor by the full membership of either chamber. Meanwhile, the parade of constitutional amendments, both technical and far reaching, continued over the years. For the text of the Junell constitution and discussion of some of the proposed amendments that have followed its failure to pass the legislature, see this chapter's feature A Constitution for the New Millennium?

Texas Politics:
© 2009, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin
3rd Edition - Revision 115
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