IN LAST MONTH? LE 4SLATURE IN FINALS FLEXIBLE RATES STIR ‘CONFLICT AUSTIN A flexible rating system for casualty and automobile insurance in Texas has developed into the most hotly contested insurance proposal of the session. ‘Pro-UN’ Books Fought Proponents and opponents lined up a half dozen deep to argue the proposal before the House insurance committee. A visitor not hearing all the session wouldn’t have known both sides were discussing the same bill. Rep. Reuben Talasek and those supporting t h e measure declared the flexible rating system used in. 47 other states would simply give Texans casualty and automobile insurance at lower competitive rates. Opponents of the measure, led by Gus Waltham, Houston, presdent of American General Insurance Company, said the bill would result in the writing of “100 different kinds of policies .. ..and produce higher rates for more people than lower rates for people.” Talasek said, “this is a fight between t h e insurance-buying public and the insurance industry.” He said that he had letters from many organizations and individuals endorsing the plan and that a similar system was extended to doctors after which “they saved $75,000 last year.” The legislator said the matter came down to the point of letting each driver get the best insurance rates to which he was entitled. “If a man’s a reckless driver, having wrecks repeatedly, he should pay for them. I should not and neither should any safe driver.” Vestal Lemmon, general manager of the National Association of Independent Insurers, urged the committee to “remove the shackles of monopoly from casualty insurance, to untie the hands of the insurance board by allowing them to set lower rates where justified.” Former Senator Keith Kelly, Fort Worth, rettresenting the National Association of Independent Insurers, pointed out that Texas is the “only state in the country where the rates on automobiles and casualty insurance are fixed by the state rather than on a competitive basis.” Others appearing in behalf of the measure included Robert Hilton, Dallas, vice president of the Transport Insurance Company; Jack Flatt, Houston. representing American Fire and Casualty Co., of Orlando, Florida, and American Fire and Casualty Agents of Texas; Col. Robert S. Joseph, San Antonio, attorney, representing the United Service Auto Association; Gene Leach, Austin, legislative director of the Texas Farm Bureau; Paul E. Edwards, Jackson, Miss:, executive vice president of the Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co. IN OPPOSING the bill, Wortham charged the “so-called flexible” rate law is not needed because Texas already has “highly flexible” rates. He said the current law requires a uniform policy to maintain a just standard but that any company can reduce rates by making dividend payments. He said the proposed law would “confuse the public and allow companies to write restrictive and trick policies.” He said he did not agree with statements by proponents of the bill that “Texans on the average are paying 15 percent more for their insurance.” Latins Gaining Voting Strength race, figures that the Latin vote paid up for the race was about 26,000, of which 90 percent actually voted. There were 140,000 poll taxes issued. The Bexar County Latin voting strength, Sen. Gonzalez believes, is between 50,000 and 70,000. Added Sen. Gonzalez: “There is a tremendous increase in voting interest; at least 100 percent in the last ten years.” DR. GEORGE I. SANCHEZ of the University of Texas agrees, and adds that the actual voting strength may be underestimated, since he considers the U.S. Census figures an undercount. The census was taken in March and April when many of the state’s Latins were working in northern states. Dr. Sanchez also pointed out that it is difficult to make a survey of Latins by using names, because many of them have Anglo names resulting from intermarriages and other factors. He agrees that probably the poll tax payment is one of the greatest handicaps for Latin voters. \(Senator Abraham Kazen of Laredo has introduced a constitutional amendment doing away with the poll tax. A similar proposal has been defeated sevWHAT IS the Latin-Americans’ best medium of communication? Newspapers are read by LatinAmericans, but not widely, and the best medium to reach the Latin American is believed to be the dozens hi Spanish-language radio stations and television stations in Texas and across the border in Mexico. “La Prensa,” the only Spanish daily printed in Texas with a circulation of about 8,000 daily, is read mostly by the older people and by those who cannot understand English. A survey in Austin showed that 45 percent of the Latin residents listen to radio stations in Mexico. Eight percent of the families have working radios. There are fewer television sets. Bill Simpson, manager of KTXN in Austin, which has 75 percent Spanish programs, says the station covers a seven-county area of 70,053 Latin population. “They never turn their radios off,” he added. He said that surveys have indicated that four stationsKTXN, Austin; KIWW, San Antonio; XEO, Brownsville; and XEOR, McAllenare listened to by 924,208 Spanish-speaking persons in Central Texas and South Texas. Simpson’s station in January promoted a poll tax drive and sponsored a dance in which admission was by poll tax receipt. The Latin population is still growing “at the rate several times that of the other white group and, if the trend continues, as it reasonably may be expected to an increasing proportion of the total population of the state,” says a University of Texas survey by Dr. Sanchez and Lyle Saunders. The Water Projects The water program takes its last high hurdle in the Senate shortly. The Senate water committee recommended approval of the second $200 million program last week, refusing to delay, 5-7. This measure would allow the state to issue $100 million in bonds for the purchase of water storage space in federal reservoirs and would permit another $100 million for the program upon subsequent approval of two-thirds of both houses of the legislature. I Already passed by both houses and now in conference committee is a measure allowing the state to issue $200 million in bonds and lend the money to cities, towns, and other agencies of local government for the construction of dams and other water conservation projects. Small Loan Control Rep. Tony Korioth’s bill to license small lenders, limit their total annual charges to 36 percent. and otherwise curb small loan abuses was sent to a chilly state affairs committee Monday, 85-54, on motion of Rep. Kika de la Garza. Both Korioth and Rep. Barefoot Sanders said this was “killing” the bill. Koriath told the house small lenders are charging “400 and 500 percent interest.” Rep. John Crosthwait said “every bank” in Dallas opposes the bill, which Sanders said is not the case. Falstaff’s License The House agreed 95-41 with Rep. Malcolm McGregor, El Paso, to relieve Falstaff Brewing Co. of $9,500 of a $10,000 annual license fee for its second brewery at El Paso. McGregor said it is “a small brewery which almost went under last year.” Rep. Tom Joseph, Waco, said Falstaff’s U.S. profits last year were $9 million. Rep. W. S. Heatly, Paducah, said *the beer people “are rtmning this House and they are running this legislation.” McGregor said: “Gentlemen, I don’t think the breweries are running any of you.” Corporate Rules A revision of the corporation code passed over objections from Rep. Charles Hughes, Sherman, that it replaces the existing requirement that a firm have 10 percent of its capitalization on hand with a requirement it have $1,000 on hand. He said this lets a $10 million firm organize on $1,000. He also said certain protections against mergers were /done away with. “You’re gonna lower your standards on the protection of the public,” he said. The bill passed 112-30, after Rep. Barefoot Sanders, Dallas, added an amendment to require stockholders who want cumulative voting to adopt it by formal act if it is not already in their charter. Important Miscellany The memorialization to Congress to limit income tax to 25 percent of income, adopted by the House and approved by Senate state affairs without a public hearing, is awaiting Senate ap -proval. Senate action is still doubtful on the House-adopted bill doubling student tuition at state colleges. Sen. A. M. Aikin, Paris, is organizing the opposition. The party registration bill has cleared committees amended to permit independents to vote in one but only one primary. AUSTIN Plans to introduce a geography course An Houston high schools were stayed when the school board refused to approve the only two state-approved geoptraphies because of what one member termed “United Nations propaganda.” Leading opposition to the two books, “Geography of the World,” published by Macmillan, and “Geography of World Affairs,” published by Rand McNally, was school board member Mrs. Earl Maughmer, Jr. She objected principally to the foreword in the Macmillan book which reads: , “They must also:be led to see that the maintenance of world peace is possible only through some form of international organization such as the United Nations.” She took exception to a chapter” in the Rand McNallly book entitled “It’s All One World,” Mrs. Maughmer charged that the books contain the “political views” of the author and “too much of the author’s opinion.’ I think in teaching physical geography we should stick to facts.” Dr. W. W. Kemmerer, Jr., only board member to ‘ defend the books, said: “When you study man and his culture you cannot preclude his political boundaries.” The texts were rejected by all five “conservative” members of the board. Hardin Craig, Jr., a Rice Institute professor and co-chairman the House and gallery. Later one of the lobbyists in the gallery said he had told one of his colleagues, “You look down there and see if anyone is standing up. I can’t bear to look.” Food advice,” declared Sadler. He said they had never asked him to vote a certain way “and I have gone to them and they have furnished me information. People at home just don’t know how it is.” Sadler closed by demanding “we lay everything on the table …. I think the House should go into every dollar that went to the Governor’s campaign from Cage by Robert Hall so that he who is without sin can cast the first stone.” THE GOVERNOR said it was obvious that Sadler misunderstood his television speech when he asked him to name the 400. He read a portion of the speech which called on the people “not of the United Nations Council of Houston, said Mrs. Matighmer’s .ottitude was “going make Houston : the laughing stock of the nation. Everybody is taking hacks at the UN as a tight form of world . government. Actually it is a loose organization of sovereign nations who have decided that the world is so small they should get together to discuss their problems.” Craig said the “fears that our children are being indoctrinated with wrong ideas from the UN are complettely unfounded.” Charge Physicians Life With ‘Free’ insurance AUSTIN Physicians Life and Accident Insurance Company of America, Dallas, headed by former governor Coke Stevenson, has been charged by the State Insurance Commission with illegal operations involving issuance of over $1 million in free policies. In a new order to show cause why its license should not be revoked, the firm was alleged to have made misrepresentations to the public concerning its stock sales, falsified its books and records concerning its assets, and otherwise violated state insurance laws. The charge was filed after Mr. Stevenson won a delay April 11 for the hearing. April 2, 1957 Page 8: The measure’ permitting cities to enter into urban renewal contracts with the federal government is apparently destined for approval. A cleared a House committee, was sent to a friendly Senate subcommittee. The state senate has given its unexpected approval to Sen. Abraham Kazen’s bill to create a Texas Council on Migrant Labor to coordinate state programs for the benefit of migrant workers. This measure still has a long way to go, however, and may not pass if this is a short session. A bill to abolish the plea of contributory negligence as a complete defense has been reported favorably by a House committee. Bills to repeal many existing laws restricting unions and to set up a labor mediation board for Texas are in a House subcommittee. Other Items The status of other legislation: The Senate has approved 29-0 a bill to make insurance companies which renege on valid small loss claims pay attorneys’ fees and a 12 percent penalty. \(“Some companies think they can get away with not paying these small claims,” said Sen. Ottis Lock, Resting in a friendly Senate sub com-mitte e after House passage is a bill to create a Texas securities board. It would take insurance securities supervision away from the Insurance Commission. The Senate received with favorable report a bill cutting the Youth Development Council from six to three members and creating an executive secretary. The Senate passed a bill to provide penalties for abuse, harassment, and cursing by telephone. The Sadler-Daniel Fight to judge the many by the acts of
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