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Sharks Bill Near; House Passes ‘Rights’ AUSTIN Criss Cole’s loan sharks bill committee but still containing what some have called a “destructive insurance loophole,” is scheduled to hit the House floor Wednesday and stir an immediate and intense dispute. The Houston representative’s controversial measure was postponed twice last week. Intimating that some banks want to be brought under his bill to charge the same high rates it would allow for loan companies, Cole yelled over the House microphone this week that if pressure from the banks defeats his bill “I will introduce a resolution for investigation of whether there is not a violation of the public interest by some bank officials who have loan shark companies on the side.” Rep. Bob Eckhardt, Houston, Said he has received many telegrams from employees of small loan companies urging him to help defeat Cole’s bill. They contend the bill might put their cornpanies out of business and them out of work. Eckhardt said he is answering them: “I would rather have a few people lose their jobs with usurious lenders than have a great number of people losing their shirts because of usurious interest.” Cole protested the postponement on bringing up his bill to a House debate and vote, arguing that delay favors the loan sharks by giving them more time to bring pressure on the legislators. His bill, originally much like the bill submitted this session by Rep. Tony Korioth, Sherman, was altered in subcommittee by raising permissible interest rates on loans of less than $100 from 36 percent a year to 40 percent. On larger loans, the interest rate proportionately drops until the borrower is paying 11 percent a year on loans of $3,000. Licenses, costing $200, are required, and lenders who do not take out licenses can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to as much as six months in jail. The interest rates specified by the bill cover all charges except “reasonable insurance coverage.” Several loan experts, including two assistants attorney general, testified at the committee hearing that exempting insurance coverage from the interest ceiling was a serious fault, that it could ruin the effectiveness of the bill, and that loan companies could earn enough profit without selling credit insurance on the side. Cole earlier had said he was willing to put insurance charges under the total charge ceiling, but apparentlythe subcommittee was not of a like mind on this point. Beer Bust In other legislative action, the Carling Beer bill ran into deep trouble in the Senate after sailing through the House. Written especially for the benefit of Carling Breweries, which wants to build a $20 million plant at Fort Worth, the bill would permit the brewing of ale as well as beer without a three-year waiting period, and it would permit brewing to continue even if the precinct went dry. Leading the opposition is Sentor Doyle Willis, Fort Worth. Proponents of the measure include the entire House delegation from the Fort Worth area. Sen. Culp Krueger, El Campo, sponsorea lo, In the Senate. Eight -of Fort Worth’s nine city councilmen telegramed their support of the measure. Hank Brown, president of the state AFL-CIO, was on hand to tell what a great thing it would be for supplying jobs. Fred Korth, Fort Worth banker, added his plea. But various religious and ternperance leaders spoke against the manufacture of beer, and the motion by Sen. Bill Moore, Bryan, to send the bill to subcommittee for the deadly-sounding “further study,” was passed by voice vote. Some Rights A women’s rights bill, pockmarked by amendments, was trotted gallantly through the House by a vote of 134-11 and sent to the Senate where a vaguely similar rights bill is bottled up in subcommittee. The original bill was sponsored by Rep. Ben Atwell, Dallas, but Rep. Jim Cotten, Weatherford, stripped most of the meat off the bill by winning approval of an amendment that leaves present community property laws untouched, as well as leaving untouched the homestead rights of widows or unmarried daughters. The community property laws have long irritated women’s rights advocates, for in general they prohibit women separately owning property other than that which they had at marriage or which is bequeathed to them. Rep. Byron Tunnell of Tyler accused Cotten of hating women. Also adopted was the amendment by Rep. J. Collier Adams, Lubbock, which puts off to July 1, 1967, the effectiveness of the AUSTIN Wily old “Red” Berry, who last week watched the demolition of one of his horse racing bills with quiet resignation that some legislators mistakenly interpreted to mean the end of the fight, this week came swinging back in a surprise attack that left his enemies at least momentarily routed. Berry rammed through the committee on privileges, suffrage and elections, House Bill 777, which would obtain a public opinion poll on horse racing via the ballot. His effort stirred a flurry of opposition that sometimes bordered on the comical and kept Chairman Ronald Bridges, Corpus Christi, gaveling for quiet and occasionally ordering his colleagues to sit down and shut up. This was the background of the drama, and its enacting: Last week, when the House by a vote of 145-5 tabled House Bill 4, which would have put local option parimutuel horse racing on the ballot as a constitutional amendment, the enemies of Berry’s legislation relaxed. As far as his HB 777 was concerned, their fears were allayed by the fact that it had been sent by Bridges to what everyone thought to be an unfriendly subcommittee. It was not , expected to reappear alive. The subcommittee was composed of Frank McGregor of Waco, chairman; Bill Walker, Cleveland; Vidal Trevino, Laredo; Bill Heatley, Paducah, and Reed Quilliam, Lubbock. Surprise Package Heatley, who has been Berry’s bitterest foe all along, and Quilliam were known to be dead set against the bill. McGregor was thou g ht to be also. and that made a majority. But McGregor, though against horse racing itself, was not against letting the full House decide on Berry’s bill, and he went along with Walker and Trevino to pass it back to the committee. Late Monday evening, two hours before the committee was to meet, measure. This, he said, would give the state time to adjust itself to necessary legal alterations which the law would bring about. The bill proposes a constitutional amendment to provide that “equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex.” Passed by the Senate was a bill written by Sen. Dorsey Hardeman of San Angelo to increase to $1,000 from the present $50 the filing fees for candidates for the U. S. Senate. A comparable bill is kicking around in the House. Both were prompted by the overlygenerous turnout for the present race for the seat vacated by Lyndon Johnson. The Senate also gave unanimous approval to a measure that will let the people vote on a constitutional amendment to provide matching-aid money for medical aid for elderly people who are not on welfare rolls. This will take care of all over 65, because Texas voters already have approved of giving medical care to those who are on welfare rolls. Heatley and Quilliam learned for the first time that the bill was coming back. Heatley leaped to the telephone and started trying to drum up ministerial opposition, especially in McGregor’s hometown, Waco. There wasn’t time to get the ministers to Austin in person. But in came the telegrams. Quilliam admonished the committee at the outset: “This is just going to string out the correspondence we’ve been receiving. I know how my constituents feel and most of you do. If this gets through the House and to the people, the House will accept the poll as a mandate. If you are against horse racing, don’t be misled by the idea it will be killed later on.” Rep. Tom James, Dallas, said there is no question about the feelings of his constituents. He has received 2,000 telegrams and letters opposing Derry’s bills. But McGregor wouldn’t budge. “This is a public opinion poll, nothing else,” he said. “It has no legal force or effect. If my district goes 80 percent for horse racing, I’ll go for it though I’m against it. I think it ought to be defeated overwhelmingly at the polls. but I’m not sure it will be. I have received one side through the mail. When I go to the country club, I get a different side. This poll would settle it.” James: “I cannot recognize this as a key question before the state. If we refer this question to the people, why not refer some of the truly important questions to them?” McGregor: “Because it is a mon ; al issue, and I feel we have no, business resolving moral issues here when we can pass them on to the state.” Jake Johnson, San Antonio, moved to send the bill to the full House, but before Bridges would allow a vote on his motion a burst of counter-strategy motions hit the table. Vanishing W. T. Oliver, Port Neches, moved to send the bill to the attorney Labor at Bay Neither program has been financed, but bills are pending that would do the job. Two hundred labor union members packed into the hearing room when debate was heard this week on the proposed amendnient that would put the right-to-work law in the state constitution. Rep. Jerry Butler, Kenedy, is sponsor. “There’s no need for this,” said Hank Brown, president of the state AFL-CIO, “because labor is already restricted by 14 laws covered by this amendment.” Brown testified that further hobbles on the labor movement could harm the industrial growth of the state. The bill may come out from subcommittee immediately after the Easter recess. Mellowing in a House subcommittee are three redistricting bills. Rep. Malcolm McGregor, El Paso, proposes to pluck one congressman from East Texas and give that seat to South Texas, and open a new congressional district west of the Pecos. Rep. Ben Lewis is fighting to get another congressman for Dallas, and he is backed by the many Dallas industries that are beginning to suffer from the cold shoulder Dallas gets from Washington because it has sent a Republican, Bruce Alger, to Congress. Sen. Dorsey Hardeman, San Angelo was drubbed in his effort to get the Court of Criminal Ap general for his opinion on its constitutionality. Walker moved to amend that motion with the order to send the bill to the attorney general if it passed, but this was laughed down before it got a second. Oliver’s motion lost by a vote of 8 to 7. James moved to recommit the bill to a subcommittee. Quilliam moved to take out the names of all counties except Bexar, then withdrew his motion. James’ motion failed 8 to 6. Then, just as Johnson’s motion to approve the bill was ready to be acted on, James popped in with another motion, this time to adjourn, but it lost by 8 to 6. Heatley moved to table Johnson’s motionbut suddenly there was no quorum. Several opponents of the bill had stalked out in a last ditch try to stall a showdown vote. Bridges called a recess for five minutes over McGregor’s heated objections: “This is the most ridiculous action I’ve seen on the floor or in committee. We’re in the middle of a series of motions and the chair calls a recess.” Wilson’s Pal While Bridges was trying to explain that he was “only trying to be fair,” back came several of the quorum-making recalcitrants, including Quilliam, who said: “Some of us went too far in our opposition. I’m here to stay, and I would like to apologize to Mr. Berry, though I’ll continue to vote against him every time.” Heatley’s motion to table Johnson’s motion lost 9 to 4the topheavy loss resulting from the fact that some of the foes had stayed out. Johnson’s motion passed by the same ratio: Bridges, Heatley, Parsons, Quilliam voting against it. Miss, Bell, De la Garza, Johnson of San Antonio, McGregor of McLennon, Miller, Oliver, Trevino, Walker voting for it. Berry foes who were there on the early votes, but missed the last roll calls, were B. H. Dewey peals abolished in Texas. He proposed to transfer jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, which would in turn be enlarged from nine to 15 justices. . Hardeman said the court had repeatedly proved itself to be a second rate institution and that the people have lost confidence in it. The Senate, which apparently still has confidence in the court, voted him down two to one. Three bills dealing with Padre Island are still being shuffled In a mysterious fashion in a House subcommittee. The bills all ostensibly favor setting up a national park on the island, but they do not agree on how generous the state should be in marking its land for that purpose. The House approved 122-12 a bill by Rep. R. H. Cory of Victoria to make Memorial Day a legal holiday, but it did so only after amending the bill to take Columbus Day off the legal holiday list, with proponents claiming that this move would save the state a million dollars a year in wages. When Cory said for the bill that it is more logical to honor American war dead than it is to honor Columbus, Kika de la Garza, House jester, said: “Sometimes I think it would have been better if Columbus hadn’t discovered us.” If the Senate approves the bill by a two-thirds vote, it will take effect immediately. Jr., Bryan, Mrs. Myra Banfield, Roseberg, and James. In all, the battle consumed six roll-call votes. The Berry foes had one chance to stave off defeat, but they missed it apparently because Dewey wanted to keep his friend Attorney General Will Wilson, a candidate for the Senate, off the hook.. Dewey was against the Berry bill, but on the motion to send it to the attorney general’s office for an opinion on its constitutionality, he voted nay, siding with Berry. If Dewey’s vote had been aye, the Berry foes would have won 8 to 7. The Observer asked him later if he had done so to keep from throwing the controversial issue into Wilson’s lap during the race. Dewey smiled and said, “Well, yes, you might say that was a consideration.” He said he also wanted to block a further flood of letters. Quilliam said later that if it had gone to the attorney general they might have got two weeks delay, “and we could have done a lot with the committee in that time. At least it wouldn’t have hurt us.” He said he had thought the bill was as good as dead, that it had come as a complete surprise when McGregor told him he had signed the bill and it was coming up in committee that night. Heatley, also bemoaning failure to get the delay, said he was sure they could have swung McGregor back to their thinking. “A person just doesn’t sign that subcommittee report and represent McLen