RE ISTRATION BILL RE ULATES ARGUIN AUSTIN The new lobby law is ten typed legal pages long, but its salient features are few. Around these few the controversy has raged; the issues involved can be stated simply. “Person” is defined in a way that exempts corporations from registering or reporting. most distinctive feature, “direct communication,” as personal appearance before a legislative committee or personal contact with a legislator, the governor, or the lieutenant governor “during a session of the legislature to argue for or against pending legislation or any action thereon.” Two crucial ideas are imbedded in these 17 words. Since no one who does not engage in direct communication has to register, and then he has to report only what he spends for direct communication, these idea’s control the nature of the lobby bill. 1.”During a session of the legislature” clearly means that what a lobbyist does when the legislature is not in sessionwhether a week before it convenes, or at a year-end celebration at a football bowl gameis not touched by the bill. 2.Before a lobbyist must register or report, he must engage in personal appearances or contacts `to argue.” One view is that this means he must, literally, argue with a legislator: twist ‘ his arm, as it were. The other view is that this encompasses general discussions about legislation. The clause evolved from Daniel’s suggested wording, “for the purpose of explaining, discussing, or arguing,” into “for the purpose of arguing,” thereby explicitly excluding the first two kinds of talking; and from this into the form “to argue,” thereby removing the subject of the legislator’s “purpose” and leaving only the I subject, what he actually does ork the occasion in question. Section 3, the registration section, was called “strong” by Gov. RENEW To the Texas Observer 504 W. 24th St., Austin same: Address: City: One year, $4; 2, $7.50; 3, $11 Daniel. He said this section “will bring out into the open those unscrupulous few who have in the past hidden their connections and fraudulent activities.” It requires three groups of people to register. In every case the person must engage in “direct communication”that is, he must, during a session, personally argue pending legislation. The three groups: persons who, for compensation, undertake by direct communication “to promote or oppose” legislation; persons ‘ who without compensation, but acting “for the benefit of another person,” undertake by direct communication to promote or oppose legislation; and, finally, persons who, on their own behalf and without compensation, spend more than $50 during a legislative session in direct communication. Exempted persons include lawyers drafting bills or advising clients on their effect, journalists, clergymen, persons invited or requested by committees to testify, and state or municipal officials, provided these persons, generally dime of it under that.” Lock said if there was to be reporting, it should be all, during a session: a loophole there could not be defended on the stump, he said. Zbranek sided with Lock. Before lunch the word was passed to some House members: “Get your guns loaded.” Zbranek said, “Mostly it’s just been a haird own discussion of the reporting section. Its really hard to work out.” Lock said in the Capitol rotunda, “I believe we’re going to work out a good bill.” In the afternoon session, Lock said Martin and Zbranek, as authors of the bills, would have to sign the report. He asked Martin if he’d sign a bill without reporting. No, said Martin; he wouldn’t get up and raise sand or anything, but he wouldn’t sign. That settled that, Lock said. The four House conservatives reverted to the exemption argument. Hazlewood leaned back in his chair and ridiculed this. A senator suggested Daniel be questioned on it. Martin asked Daniel and reported back Daniel would not agree to it. It was more or less agreed then the reporting would be limited to legislative sessions. At 4 o’clock Lock asked for a 20-minute recess to “caucus with myself.” He was gone an hour. This was probably the time when the senators, Ramsey, and others speaking, do not engage in lobbying apart from their exempt activities. The act is not to be construed to prevent constituents from contacting their own legislators without registering as long as they don’t fall within Section 3. Registrants have to give their name s, occupations, and addresses, those of their employees “or for whom the registrant is acting,” and a brief description of the legislation in which they are interested. Section 6 requires reports for each month of a legislative session. The registrant must give “the total expenditures made by him … for direct communication.” Significant here is the omission, on the one hand, of any requirement that any of the expenditures be itemized, as the House’s bill had required, and, on the other, of an exemption for expenditures smaller than $25 c.s provided in the bill reported out by the House state affairs cornmittee. The one provision would have led to reports somewhat decided on the final bill. At five o’clock the committee reconvened, talked a while, and Lock asked Martin to write up the bill. The House conferees had another talk with Carr. Carr said he did not want a total reporting bill he wanted an exemption in it, even if it had to be only $10. Four of the five conferees ‘came forth with the idea at the 7 o’clock meeting. Daniel said, when asked, he might go $5, no more. Zbranek said a man can get a good steak for $5. The point was made that you can’t buy a man a steak and three drinks at the Headliners’ Club for $5. This may have negatively impressed Daniel, a Baptist. Lobbyists There The House gallery, which earlier sported only lobbyists Hugh the eveningwith Jake Pickle and George Christian \(Daniel’s Miles, and John McCully \(AFL. B. Rogers \(insurCorpus watching were Mrs. Price Daniel and John Osorio, former insurance commissioner. Claude Gilmer, independent lobbyist, was in the rotunda. Sam Hanna \(loan more interesting; the other would have let lobbyists disburse sums in small amounts without having to report them as part of their total expenditures. Lobbyists do not have to report expenditures for “personal sustenance and office expense, clerical help, lodging and travel.” This seems clearly to exempt a lobbyist’s personal and office expenses in Austin from the reporting requirement. “Entertainment expense for direct communication as that term shall be reported,” Section 6 adds. To understand this sentence one lobbyist must report entertainment expenses which are attendant to personally arguing pending legislation with legislators. The issue, clearly stated, is whether this section requires lobbyists to report entertainment expenditures on occasions during which they refrain from arguing Penalties are provided for “failure to file any such report,” for and Zollie Steakley, Secretary of State, were in the gallery later. In the conference, Zbranek threw out that the bill apparently barred reporters from House and Senate floors until a law is passed admitting them. Roberts said the newspapers were the cause of their being there arguing. Strickland proposed a substitute legislator reporting bill of expenditures from lobbyists over $50. The senators didn’t take this up. Lock suggested Strickland go see what the Governor thought about the idea. Zbranek then decided to argue for defining direct communication as explaining, discussing, and arguing legislation \(rather than expenditures “for the purpose of” direct communication in reports. He told Daniel this by phone from the’ conference room. The whole conference committee then adjourned to Daniel’s office. At 9:48, Zbranek had a confused huddle with House members at the side of the House chamber. He asked about this word arguing”I’m not sure. I think they’d have to report all their entertainment expenses anyway,” he said. Rep. Sanders agreed. Rep. Kennard said it ought to include the term, “to influence” legislation. Rep. Conley asked: “If you ‘influence’ and pay, you don’t report it, is that right? Well, that’s the crux of it.” In his office, Daniel advocated Zbranek’s changes. Lock said he’d given a whole lot, it was late, and he’d had a lot of checking to do with senators. Daniel asked Zbranek how important it was. Zbranek said he really wasn’t sure. The changes were dropped. Final Crises At 10:29an hour and 51 minutes before the end of the special sessionReps. Hughes, Korioth, Zbranek, Kennard, and Sanders met with Carr in his office. Zbranek advocated passage of the bill. He was convinced he should not sign the report. Kennard told Carr his conference committee appointments were poor, that a strong bill could not have been expected from such a stacked group. Cory brought word to Zbranek the senators wouldn’t sign if he didn’t. He rushed to the Senate, assured the conferees and Ramsey intentionally reporting incomplete or incorrect information, for fostering spurious communications to legislators, or, in Section. 13, for “wilfully and knowingly” violating “any of the provisions” of the act. Penalties are $5,000 or imprisonment for two years or both; for a corporation paying fees contingent on legislation passing or failing, the fine can be $5,000 \(but forfeiture of corporate At the same time, as pointed out elsewhere on page one, grave doubts arise about the effectiveness of these penalties in criminal cases because the detailed caption of the law does not mention that penalties are provided except for a clause, enclosed in semicolons, “prohibiting spurious communications and providing for penalty,” which seems to limit penalties to the spurious communications section. Courts have held that detailed captions control the contents of laws. The act takes effect Jan. 1, 1959, before the next regular session of the legislature. \(at the side of the Senate chamacting in good faith and that he and his friends would not criticize the Senate, would vote for the bill. They said all rightbut they wanted to know exactly what Daniel would say. So they marched to the Governor’s office. Daniel read them a press release he had already written outit was “a good bill,” he said, with “strong registration features.” That contented the senators. \(Martin said he couldn’t ask him was agreed to. Zbranek told reporters he had not signed because of an “ambiguity” that raised a doubt whether lobbyists would have to report all their expenditures for entertainment during a session. But he would vote for it. “I think we could kill it but with votes that didn’t honestly hold with us … A jackass can kick something down but you’ve got to be an architect to build,” he said. The conferees had put in “hours and hours of honest labor” and reporting during the session “solves most of the problems,” he said. The Senate passed the report quickly. The House, receiving it at 11:39, had a wild snafu. Rep. Sheridan tried again and again to make a point of order without success. Slack said “we think anyone who attempts to influence legislation will be required to register.” Zbranek said it was “a good bill, a step in the right direction.” Hughes said, “We’re not as disappointed as we are. I’m sure the Governor will come back and support a stronger bill. In lieu of nothing we’ll take this.” Rep. Fenoglio wanted to oppose the bill. Carr would not recognize him for this purpose under rules he later cited. At 11:51 he rammed through a house vote, which was 124-15 for the report. There followed various personal privilege speeches condemning Carr \(“dictatorial Adolph Hitler tactics … and the bill \(“a fraud on the public … It’s not gonna do anything but hurt business and hurt memBut, the clock turned back as the real time passed midnight, the bill duly printed and signed, the special session came to an end and the long-controverted lobby registration bill was law. COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE HALL’S WIGINTON-HALL LEAGUE CITY INSURANCE AGENCY INSURANCE AGENCY INSURANCE AGENCY Dickinson, Texas Alvin, Texas League City, Texas A Behind-the-Door Story
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