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Liquor-by-the-Drink Law Unlikely in This Session Austin The brown paper bag, that ubiquitous symbol of Texas after dark, may pass into history this summer if the state legislators, convened now in special session, enact a liquor-by-the-drink bill. But the odds are against it. A county-by-county analysis of referendum returns from the Democratic primary indicates that a majority of legislators in each house will represent districts which favor a local option liquor by the drink law. If legislators look to the preferences of their constituents a rare phenomenon in Texas politics liquor by the drink will pass the house of representatives comfortably, 90-60, and will survive the senate, 17-14. The narrow senate margin more closely reflects the results of the Democratic referendum, where 724,785 voters favored liquor by the drink, with 709,596 opposed, a majority of 50.5%. Republican and American party results raised the final count to 826,587 in favor and 793,478 opposed, but did not substantially alter voting alignments in the legislature. As expected, the referendum drew heavy support in major cities, along the entire length of the Rio Grande, on the Gulf Coast, and in the German areas of Central Texas. Houston, Austin, and Corpus Christi Democrats voted 2-1 for mixed drinks; in tourist-conscious San Antonio, Galveston, and El Paso the proportion was closer to 3-1. In the seven largest metropolitan countiesHarris, Dallas, Bexar, Tarrant, El Paso, Travis, and Nueces liquor by the drink carried 64% of the vote. The 324,781 votes for the referendum in these seven counties accounted for 45% of its statewide total. Away from the cities and South Texas indeed, in 184 of 254 countiesliquorby-the-drink took a thorough beating. In the vast northeast quadrant of the state, Dallas and Tarrant counties lie isolated, two islands in a dry sea. A traveler driving from Texarkana to New Mexico could cross the state on US Highway 82 and never enter a county favoring mixed drinks. Two years ago, a liquor-by-the-drink bill could never have won the support of a rural-dominated legislature. But the United States Supreme Court edict on re Mr. Burka is a lawyer in the same Galveston firm as liberal State Rep. Ed Harris and serves as a legislative aide for Rep. Harris. He attended Rice University and the University of Texas law school. apportionment has changed the ground rules. Harris, Dallas, and Bexar counties each had one senator in the 59th legislature; this summer the same three counties have a total of nine senators, plus three more whose districts include a portion of one of the principle counties. The same shift is evident in the house, where Paul Burka Harris, Dallas, and Bexar sent 28 representatives to the 59th legislature. They now send 43. PASSAGE OF l i q u o r-by-thedrink legislation therefore depends strongly upon the solidarity of big-city delegations. And here the procedural and personal imponderables of the legislative process will play a role as strong as the referendum results. Houston Senator Barbara Jordan, for example, cannot be counted upon to vote for liquor-by-thedrink, although her district heavily supported it. Her personal convictions and the fact hat her father is a minister may weigh more heavily than the primary returns. One senator who favors liquor-by-thedrink estimates that the bill will have the support of at least 14 senators, and the opposition of at least 13. That leaves four the senator considers as uncertain: Bruce Reagan of Corpus Christi, Grady Hazelwood of Canyon, Bill Patman of Ganado, and Dorsey B. Hardeman of San Angelo. Reagan ordinarily would be expected to follow his constituents in voting for liquor-by-the-drink, but he received sub-. stantial aid in his losing try for reelection from one of the state’s most prominent opponents of liquor-by-thedrink, wealthy grocery chain owner H. E. Butt, a leading Bapitst layman. Hazelwood is the only senator from a district which voted against liquor-by-the-drink who might be persuaded to join the urban-South Texas coalition. The two largest counties in his district Potter and Randall, comprising the Amarillo area both voted for the referendum; more important, Hazelwood is a strong Connally loyalist and might rescue the administration if its bill needed his vote. He has already announced his intention to retire after the expiration of his current term, and is immune from the pressures of reelection. Undoubtedly he would rather vote as his constituents directed, but he could switch. Hardeman, another lame duck senator, is unpredictable even when the issues seem clearly drawn; from a district which split virtually down the middle on the referendum, he is unfathomable. Patman, whose middle Gulf Coast district generally favored liquorby-the-drink with notable exceptions in Matagorda, Jackson, and Gonzales counties, is only slightly more predictable. Senators who will probably support liquor-by-the-drink include three from Houston \(Chet Brooks, Chris Cole, Henry Ike Harris, Joe The effects of reapportionment are overwhelmingly evident. Supporters of the bill feel that their chances are better in the house than in the senate. Two factors support their reasoning: first, the house leadership under Ben Barnes is more favorably inclined towards the legislation than is Lt. Gov. Preston Smith in the senate; second, pockets of support for liquor-by-the-drink which have representation in the house are engulfed by larger senate districts, e.g., Central Texas German areas which are absorbed into the senate districts of opponents of liquor-by-the-drink. Similarly, much of the Tarrant county support for the referendum disappears into Sen. Tom Creighton’s predominantly rural Despite the conditions favoring passage in the house, the 90-60 margin is partly illusory. Several of the districts which favored liquor-by-the-drink did so only by slender margins, and representatives from those districts may hesitate to stake their political future on abiding by the referendum results. It is an established axiom of Texas politics that Drys have longer memories and sharper swords than Wets. M UCH DEPENDS upon the substance of the bill as submitted by Gov. John Connally. On the eve of the session there was much talk in Austin of a socalled “baby bottle” bill, which would provide for the sale by brand name of bottled liquor in small containers suitable for the mixing of one or two drinks. This approach is substantially different from the proposal which Connally unsuc June 7, 1968 9