The Texas Observer FEB. 3, 1967 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c HEMISFAIR ’68 AND LEGISLATURE ’67 Austin HemisFair’s backers aren’t pleased about the fact, but somehow their plans have, in varying degrees, become an issue in almost everything the legislature is trying to do these days. Officials of the fair need $5.5 million from the state government, and quickly, if HemisFair is to be ready for its scheduled opening in April, 1968. Gov . John Connally has declared the appropriation an emergency and the House overwhelmingly gave its OK. The Senate probably will follow suit, perhaps by the time this is read, but not before some menacing oratory and the extraction of a few promises from legislative backers of the fair concerning future votes on other matters. There has been much grousing some sotto voce, some not so sotto about HemisFair on the part of legislators from beyond Bexar County and vicinity who feel that they have emergencies of their own. The governor, however, is a man of considerable influence; the fair is not likely to be refused. The process of responding to the request has revealed some of the nature of the 60th legislature. The HemisFair bill is the first that has encouraged the lawmakers to doff their ceremonial robes and dispense with the amenities that characterize the opening of a session. The word “HemisFair” has popped up in discussions that are, basically, related to the struggle between the House and the Senate and between the two houses’ leaders, Lt. Gov. Preston Smith and Speaker Ben Barnes. HemisFair has not escaped notice during the consideration of an emergency pay raise for state employees, an issue that was a significant surprise attack in the House-Senate feud. In fact, the fair is thought by many to be partly responsible for the sudden choice, by the Senate, of the pay bill as a stratagem to use against the House. This will be discussed in a moment. Nor have the backers of HemisFair been comforted by two recent non-legislative incidents which are much on the minds of the lawmakers in Austin. First there was the voting down, in Bexar County, of a tax increase to finance operation of a teaching hospital. The vote has jeopardized plans of the last legislature to establish a South Texas Medical School at San Antonio. Another woe for HemisFair is the involvement of a San Antonio legislator in the delays surrounding acquisition of land for the LBJ State Park. Rep. Roy Garwood was retained by a couple who are fighting condemnation of their 54acre property which is being sought for the park. Garwood has acknowledged that one reason he was retained was that such a move will delay the condemnation proceedings until after the legislature adjourns. Garwoods accepting a role in the case has irritated some legislators. LET US BEGIN now to weave the stories of HemisFair ’68 and Legislature ’67 in more detail. The complicated tale began with a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee last week. HemisFair’s leaders were prepared. Several speakers were on hand, slide projectors at the ready. There were mimeographed handouts, a wall display outlining the fair’s research to date into Texas history, and a large model of part of the fairgrounds. Leading the presentation was Frank Hildebrand, director of the Texas Tourist Development Agency. Just as he began to speak a West Texas representative, Delwin Jones of Lubbock, whipped out a handkerchief and rather loudly blew his nose. No one, and certainly not Hildebrand, seemed to notice. After 50 minutes of smooth talk, color slides, and straightfrom-the-shoulder earnestness, committee chairman Bill Heatly of Paducah called a halt. Not many of the committeemen were paying much attention anyway. George Hinson of Mineola, saying that he favored the appropriation, asked how much San Antonio and Bexar County intended to put into the fair. H. B. Zachry, HemisFair’s board chairman, said that “San Antonio’s expenditures are $75 million and I expect it to reach $100 million.” Hinson moved that the committee report the appropriation to the House floor favorably. There were no dissenting votes. Just as Heatly was preparing to adjourn the meeting Rep. Jones of Lubbock said, “Mr. Chairman, if they come back looking for more money in the future, I’m going to be like that tomcat that had an affair with a skunk I’ll have enjoyed about all of this I can stand.” Heatly urged that the committee members support the bill on the floor. After adjournment several members were heard complaining . about the appropriation. Before the measure came to a vote on the House floor, Speaker Barnes said he believed that the two-thirds majority needed to pass the emergency appropriation existed in the lower house. There was some opposition, Barnes said, among some members who “are using the medical school thing, justly or unjustly, to work against HemisFair.” Some legislators were questioning why the fair’s appropriation should be passed when Bexar County voters had, a few days before, turned down a tax increase as their part of establishing the South Texas Medical School in San Antonio. The tax increase needed was to finance operation of a teaching hospital near the medical school. An earlier vote in San Antonio had authorized bonds to build the hospital; construction began several months ago on both the hospital and the medical school. If funds aren’t provided to operate the hospital the entire medical school project could be in jeopardy. San Antonio leaders have been given a deadline, later this month, to come up with a plan for funding operation of the hospital; meanwhile, many legislators are angry and embarrassed about the situation. On the floor of the House Rep. Heatly lead the HemisFair bill to passage. After some 30 minutes of a foredoomed and thus largely bantering floor revolt, lead by Reps. Carl Parker of Port Arthur and Clyde Haynes of Vidor, the vote was 12123. Heatly, smiling, told a colleague, “I ought to go to San Antonio and run for mayor.” In the Senate the HemisFair bill was to be considered this week by the Finance Committee before going to the floor of the upper house. Committee chairman Sen. A. M. Aikin of Paris said he didn’t intend to bottle up the measure. Sen. Joe Bernal of San Antonio, probable floor leader of the bill, said that 16 Senators favored it, five were doubtful, and one, Sen. George Parkhouse of Dallas, was opposed. A two-thirds majority of the Senate is required to pass the emergency measure. There are 31 Senators. N THE MEANTIME, the day before the HemisFair bill passed the House, the Senate mounted its first offensive in the struggle between the legislature’s two chambers. Basically, the battle is between Lt. Gov. Smith and Speaker be governor. On the third legislative day the House had fired the opening shot in the 1967 phase of the war. At Barnes’ urg
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