Con o -_9niereA3 one 3till _Arm; Zen y th Independents Boxed Whatever liberal Democrats expect from Gov.-elect John B. Connally’s administration, it is elementary that they would be very unwise to make political commitments to him now. His political statements and alignments point to a profound economic conservatism. He has been intimately associated with big business in his personal affairs. He bucked the Kennedy Administration on medicare and federal aid to education. He has been ominously silent about where he will try to get the new taxes he will probably ask for. He is committed to seek the legislature’s assent to Senator Yarborough’s legislation, approved by the Congress, to create a national seashore area on Padre Island, and this is good news, indeed. It remains to be seen, however, whether he will seek to grab the political credit from Yarborough or will acknowledge the senator’s primary role in the legislation. Connally spent huge sums to sway minority voters; there are intimations in Austin that he will make bold concessions to the minorities as governor. How bold and how genuine are also questions for the future. Will Connally support or oppose the necessary tax on natural gas pipeline production which legislative statesmen like Eckhardt, Hinson, and Herring have worked for so long? Will he knock a corporate profits tax in the head at the same time he is raising the sales tax? What will be the provisions of his bill for establishing voter registration? Will he advance real improve The legally promulgated and sanctioned private financing of some of the activities of the Texas Industrial Commission would be a grievous violation of the separation of government from special interests, but for the fact that the activities of the commission are so lightweight. The state has no business in public relations work for the business cornmunity. The argument creating the commission was that business is good for everybody ; but this argument is betrayed by the legislature’s permitting business interests to finance part of the commission’s work. If the general interest is really involved, the state’s work should be protected from the influence of private funds by being financed out of the general revenue. If the general interest is not really involved, the state should not pay for any of the commission’s work. If businesses benefit sufficiently in a monetary way from their contributions to motivate them to make them, they should apply the expenditures on their own. There is no defense in governmental theory for permitting a state agency to accept funds from private sources and then requiring it to expend them in compliance with the wishes of the private donors. Either government Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. NOVEMBER 30, 1962 Ronnie hugger Editor and General Manager Chandler Davidson, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Business Manager ments in the state’s labor laws, or will his proposals be token ? These are questions merely; we are not privy to the future. Neither, however, is anyone else. It was surprising when, the election returns barely tabulated, Harris County Democratic chairman Bill Kilgarlin endorsed Connally for re-election in 1964. During the general election campaign, Kilgarlin naturally, being county Democratic chairman, supported Connally ; but a county chairman who was elected to his job by one faction should not have endorsed the opposed faction’s Governor-elect for two years hence before that Governor-elect was even sworn into office. It is, after all, the substance of the issues, not the access to power, that motivates good people in politics. The duty of a party leader to support his party’s candidates during an election campaign definitely does not extend to a duty to support him for renomination at any time; and for a liberal to commit himself to Connally in 1964 before he had done anything in 1963 was most unfortunate. Similar problems of stance toward the Governor-elect w i 11 confront many other liberal Democratsofficials in the party, labor leaders, legislators, leaders of various elements of the liberal coalitionas Connally seeks, naturally enough, to use his powers as governor to strengthen his position for 1964. It seems clear to the Observer that the distance liberals should maintain from Connally for some time is at least one full arm’s length. represents the general interest, or it does not. The law creating the commission caused it to embody a confusion between the general interest and private interests. If the 1963 legislature insists on keeping the state in the public relations business, at least it could stop placing the good public servants who staff the commission in the awkward position of having to ask private sources for contributions to finance the state’s work. The Observer this issue has turned up something more serious, substanthan these general matters. The commission is now disseminating propaganda out-of-state, at taxpapers’ expense, boasting that Texas does not have a personal or company income tax. Worse, it has mailed to Texas employers a pamphlet published by General Electric that is Republican and anti-liberal. The commission, financed 40 percent by private business, is appallingly vulnerable to criticism on these counts. Either we have a state government or a companies’ state. Companies are perfectly able to finance their own pitches. Perhaps the legislature will think a little before financing this hybrid Texas Buncombe Commission any further. Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.10 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 15c each. Quantity prices available on order. EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: Mrs. R. D. Randolph, 2131 Welch, Houston 19, Texas. AUSTIN In a nation such as ours, where 99 percent of all political action takes place within the framework of two frustratingly similar parties, there is a need for independent or non-partisan candidates who are willing to inject into campaigns issues which party candidates consider too hot to handle. Even when an independent candidate faces certain defeat by well organized machinery, he can often accomplish much good by publicizing an important issue the partisan candidates have, by mutual consent, agreed to overlook. Consider, for example, the effect of an independent candidate who chose to run for the statehouse on a platform of disarmament. Even if he stood no chance of winning, he could convert the peace issue into a pertinent matter of debate at election time and force the other candidates to make clear their views on the matter. He could play a large part in determining which issues would be raised during the campaign ; he could endanger the security of candidates in both parties by threatening to cut into Democratic and Republican votes. He might force his partisan opposition to take a stand on the sales tax, capital punishment, more humane narcotics laws, racial injustice, and many other vital but controversial subjects usually ignored by politicians. Unfortunately, Texas, whose public political dialogue is imfamously irrelevant to the real issues, has gone out of its way to insure that the independent candidate has an extraordinarily discouraging prospect. The legislature has made it quite difficult for him even to get his name on the ballot. This seems doubly unfair because an independent usually has a harder time getting votes, simply by virtue of his independent status. LET US SAY that a man decides to run as an independent, in a state-wide race, discussing certain issues to force the regular candidates to discuss them, too. What must he do to get his name on the ballot in the general election ? First, he must file an affidavit with the Secretary of State which signifies his intent to run. This must be done on or before the first Monday in February of the election year. This is a new law : it was enacted by the last legislature. Thus, if a man is to have his name on the ballot in November, he must have turned in an affidavit ten months beforehand. The party candidate has to submit his intent to run at the same time, but he runs in the spring primary ; the independent must make his decision to run even before the issues of the campaign have become clear-cutin fact, even before it is known who will run on the party tickets. Although an independent’s campaign normally would be a reaction to, or a protest of, the failure of other candidates to face important issues, the law demands that the independent declare himself in the running before he knows whether it will be wise for him to run or not. An independent candidate also must deliver to the Secretary of State within 30 days after the second primary a written application to have his name placed on the ballot in November, signed by persons of a number equal to one percent of the entire vote of the state cast for governor at the last preceding general election. The signatories must be qualified voters who did not vote in a primary election that year, unless \(as would never be was nominated for the office in question in the primaries. Thus for an independent to get his name on the ballot in a state-wide race in 1964, he would have to submit a petition with 15,000 names of people who did not vote in a primary that year. This would seem to be an almost totally prohibitive requirement. An independent running for a district, county, or precinct office has difficulties, as well. He, too, must file his intent to run by the first Monday in February. If he is running for a district office, a number of people must sign his petition totaling three percent of the vote cast for governor in the last general election in that district, but not to exceed 500 votes. These voters again must not have voted in a primary, unless a candidate was not nominated for the office in questionwhich is highly unlikely. A county-level independent’s petition must be signed by the names of voters equal to five percent of all who voted in the county in the last general election ; a precinct candidate’s, enough voters to be equal to five percent of all who voted in the precinct in the last election. THE VARIOUS barricades set up for independents were legislated by Democrats when Republicans were running as independents. Those days are gone. It seems to be bad practice in a democracy where diverse ideas and platforms should confront the voters on election day, to bar the way to non-partisan candidates who might conceivably want to run on a protest platform against partisan issuedodgers. The legislature should seriously consider in the coming session a change in the election code to give independents or non-partisans a fair chance in elections. C.D. Senate Rules Reform Due One of the most significant steps that could be taken to democratize the Texas Legislature would be to restore working majority rule in the Senate. Under the pressure exerted on that issue by his Republican opponent Bill Hayes, the newly elected lieutenant-governor, Preston Smith of Lubbock, indicated in his campaign that he favored renewed respect for the spirit of the Senate rules on fair and orderly consideration of legislation. Whether Lt. Gov.-elect Smith will pursue that intentor if not, whether a majority of the senators will demand reformremains to be seen. But we certainly hope a constructive change is imminent. Senate rules prescribe that the chamber will take up bills for debate and vote as they appear on the calendar, that is, in the order which they emerge from committee. But under the ten-year reign of former Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey the calendar became virtually a dead letter. Under Ramsey’s presiding, bills were taken up mainly by a two-thirds vote suspending the rules. Under that procedure, the presiding officer can bury a bill by refusing to recognize a senator to bring it up, eleven of the 31 senators can veto a bill by refusing to suspend the rules for its consideration. By his control of committee appointments and other prerogatives, the lieutenant governor could normally count on eleven more senators blocking a bill that the presiding officer did not favor. That procedure vests altogether too much power in the lieutenant governor, power in some respects exceeding that of the governor. And it clearly violates the principle of majority rules in legislative bodies that is fundamental to representative government. Certainly the least that is due any bill that has passed the House or been cleared by Senate committee is floor debate and a decisive vote in the Senate. Certainly nothing less than that can rebuild the deteriorated prestige of the Texas Senate as a democratic deliberative body. Corpus Christi Caller -Times. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7c4W= YP
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