Page 9


For Schwartz, a Belated Honor Galireston finally got his day as governor, this time after his second election as president pro tern of the Senate. In the regular session last year, colleagues had passed the liberal senator by because of his stand against secrecy in certain Senate operations, such as confirmation of gubernatorial nominees. Sen. Walter Richter had got the honor instead. Schwartz was, instead, named pro tern for the interim period, and his reelection in the special session ensured him the day in office while Connally and Lt. Gov. Preston Smith were “out of the state.” The only gift he accepted was a pen set with the inscription “from his friend, John Connally.” In his news conference, Schwartz said he would like to see the governor push enactment of a system of permanent voter registration, and that he agreed with Connally that approval by the voters in November of the amendment outlawing the poll tax would make annual registration difficult to remove from the law, because such a system would then be spelled out in the constitution of the state. Schwartz observed later that his day as governor had been pleasant although, he noted, “They locked up all the pardon files.” The Senate chose Galloway Calhoun of Tyler, a candidate for attorney general now, to serve as president pro tempore until the next session. down here and pick up an entirely different political philosophy from another group.” He waved the newspaper advertisement which carried a union bug, and asked, “Why put this in the paper, except to confuse the people? ‘Say no,’ it says. ‘Needless bureaucracy.’ What are they trying to stir up here? Are the tax assessor-collectors bureaucrats? ‘Citizenship participation’ and all that stuff in there! I’m just going to say that such ads have no place in here. How much longer do they want [to register] ? They can go to the night club. They can go to the country club. They can go to the lake. If they can’t go down to register, they’re just not interested in good government.” After adopting the 25c state payment to counties and the amendment \(offered by tion from the application form, the Senate voted 14-13 to table Kennard’s’ amendment which would have restored roving deputies. Then Spears spoke for the permanent regiitration system, offered as a complete substitute. He said, “I maintain it takes no longer to do the right thing than it does to do the wrong thing. There is not, in the Hazlewood bill, provision to handle registration between now and the general election. All this bill does is to’ let the people decide whether they want annual or permanent registration. If they’re so sure”he shouted now”that the people of Texas want annual registration, why don’t we let them vote on it? “I have watched with some amazement and disgust the amount of grease. put on the rails this afternoon to get the bill through. Why is it we must pass the annual system in this special session?” Then Kennard took over to point out that 44 states use permanent registration. “Why must we adopt this stand-offish attitude like we don’t belong to the union? I know for a fact that a lot of you were committed to this annual registration plan before you came to the floor of this Senate, but giving the people a choice is no abrogation of that agreement.” Spears resumed, closing on the bill, and as he spoke, Barnes entered the chamber 6 The Texas Observer and went to the podium, where he took a seat by Smith and began talking to him; Creighton joined them. The House had finished. Hazlewood asked Spears if he didn’t think the in-person registration would discourage voting. No, said Spears, because a person registered only once, provided he kept exercising the vote: “We ought to have two things uppermost in our minds. One, to encourage voter registration and, two, to protect against fraud. Your bill does neither. If [permanent registration] is good enough for 40 states, why isn’t it good enough for us?” “We’ve got a ,bill here better than any of them,” Hazlewood said, acidly reminding Spears that he, Spears, had pushed for the proposed poll tax repeal amendment, which includes an annual registration system. The annual system in the amendment was there, Spears told the Amarillo senator, because conservative factions in the Senate would have killed the amendment without it. It was the most emotional moment in the Senate debate; Spears shouted, “Thank God for the federal courts, who will do the job for us when we turn our backs on our responsibility. You know I never could have gotten that before the people without that annual registration.” Hazlewood then moved to table the substitute, and the senators agreed with him, 22-8. Then Spears proposed an amendment to offer annual registration with reregistration by voting in an eletion year and by written request in an off-year. The vote was, again, 22-8 in favor of tabling. After rejecting a Kennard amendment to style the bill “temporary” and to name an interim committee to prepare its replacement, the Senate swiftly gave final passage to the Hazlewood bill. The final vote was 24-6; the senators who voted against it were Spears, Kennard, D. Roy Harrington of Port Arthur, Andy Rogers of Childress, Jack Strong of Longview, and Bill Patman of Ganado. As it left the Senate, the bill was different from the House version in just two respects. It contained an amendment allowing the deletion of the “occupation” blank from the forms in data-processing counties and another, proposed and sold by Sen. Jim Bates of Edinburg, \(who otherwise backed bill to prevent criminal prosecution of those, other than registrars or their deputies, who aid the ill, illiterate, or those who do not speak English in filling out their registration forms. N THE HOUSE the next morning, Fondren spoke against the Bates amendment, saying, “I do fear the language will likely prevent a loophole whereby the old ‘agency’ practice might be reactuated by the unscrupulous. If we weighed every possibility, we might never get a bill written.” Jake Johnson of Bexar argued that Fondren’s substitute for the Bates amendment would prevent many Latin-Americans from getting the vote. The Bates amendment had read : “Provided, however, that an ‘agent’ may not be defined as a person is physically unable to complete such an quires assistance in completing such application by reason of his inability to read and write the English language.” Johnson told Fondren, from the back mike, “If you ever run statewide, I’m going to teach you a little about South Texas politics.” Rep. Dudley Mann of El Paso, the criminal code sponsor, told the story of his Mexican commuter maid, who was signed to vote in the United States by her employment agency. “She was just as proud as she could be,” said Mann, who later told reporters that he had not taken the incident to the grand jury because “you can’t bring criminal charges against a corporation.” By vote of 101-44, the House accepted Fondren’s replacement of the Bates paragraph. The Fondren substitute also included a section allowing, but not requiring, the registrar and his deputy to assist the illiterate, the ill, the Spanish-speaking. Washington’s birthday was dark and sleety, and the lawmakers were impatient to go home. Almost every member was on the floor of the House that afternoon, ready to push the button and give the green board to the Connally administration’s bill. They strolled in little clumps across the gold carpet, discussing the chance that Connally would, as he had been hinting, open up the session. Key administration allies, such as Sen. Dorsey Hardeman of San Angelo, had been saying openly that work was progressing in the Governor’s office on a junior college appropriations bill, and Connally, in a San Antonio appearance, had come close to saying he would declare the session open. In his flat drawl, Barnes recognized “Mr. Haring to speak against final passage of the bill.” Paul Haring, the representative from Goliad, walked to the microphone accompanied by mocking applause and derisive shouts. “The jawbone of an ass!” bellowed someone, remembering the joke from last session, delivered after Haring had quoted Christ in a speech against the bank interest bill which Connally finally vetoed. Haring’s pink face turned scarlet.