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Flinching on no-fault Austin Three Texans played crucial roles in the insurance industry’s triumph over the public interest on no-fault auto insurance in the 1971-’72 Congress: Eckhardt, Bentsen and Tower. Representative Eckhardt of Houston introducedpenetrating new rationalities into the trial lawyers’ special-interest opposition to no-fault insurance: Eckhardt pointed out that the nolfault bills uniformly over-stressed cutting litigation costs tind damages paid out to insured persons while ignoring the 30 per cent of the premium dollar the insurance companies spend on advertising, selling, overhead and profit. Eckhardt drafted and, with Congressman Moss, introduced a no-fault bill which required that injured parties still be able to recover damages for “pain and suffering.” Eckhardt told the .Journal of Commerce, “As a practical matter, what you’re doing [in a pending Senate bill] is writing out the pain and suffering and permanent partial disability that isn’t measurable” by excluding them as recoverable benefits. As Eckhardt wrote in Trial in 1971, 18 The Texas Observer CLASSIFIED BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, P.O. Box 28-1, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. MARJORIE A. DELAFIELD TYPING SERVICE: Theses, dissertations, manuscripts, reports, etc. I.B.M. Selectric H typewriters, mu ltilithing, mimeographing, addressing envelopes. Public Notary. 25 years experience. Call 442-7008, Austin. WE SELL THE BEST SOUND. Yamaha pianos, guitars; Moeck-Kung-Aulu s recorders; harmonicas, kalimbas and other exotic instruments. Amster Music, 1624 Lavaca, Austin. 478-7331. THURSDAY DISCUSSION GROUP meets at noon weekly at the YMCA, 605 North Ervay in Dallas. No dues. Everyone welcome. CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. Spanish Village, 802 Red River, second Monday of each month. From noon. All welcome. CABLE REPORT. Cable television could be a spy in your bedroom. It may also allow you to shop from your living room. We are the only people reporting on the development of this industry from the citizen’s perspective. $7 per year. 192 North Clark Street, Room 607, Chicago, Illinois 60601. NOW IS THE TIME for war tax resistance. The most powerful acts against war have been those of the young men of the Resistance who have said NO to the draft. Now it is time for those of us who have been paying for the war in Indochina to say NO to taxes for war. Join us! War Tax Resistance, 339 Lafayette St., N.Y., .N.Y. 10012. Write and ask for information. Observations no-fault legislation should eliminate the concept of fault and the negligence suit altogether, but leave intact traditional measures of damages. But the House did nothing at all on no-fault. It just copped out. It flinched. It flaked. Over in the Senate, meanwhile, Senators Hart and Magnuson got their bill to the floor for debate. It provided a federal minimum standard for no-fault insurance and required each state to adopt a no-fault law meeting that minimum or have an even stronger federal law go into effect in the state failing to do this. Under this minimum federal system, all a victim’s medical and hospital bills up to $25,000 would be paid; all his rehabilitation bills up to $25,000 would be paid; and all the lost wages up to $75,000 of a person who died would be paid by the victim’s insurance company in every case regardless of who was at fault, If an insurance company tried to delay payment, it would get socked with interest payments to the victim of 24 per cent a year. If the victim was forced to sue his insurance company to collect, the company would have to pay for the victim’s lawyer. The insurance would be available to everyone. As Senator Tunney of California said, even the Republicans’ Department of Transportation study as of 1971 showed that the present system returns only 44 cents on the dollar to injured victims. Seriously injured victims with medical expenses of $5,000 or more recover, under the present system, only ’55 per cent of those expenses. A college-educated victim receives, on the average, 63 per cent of his loss; a victim with no school or less than 12 years of it gets about 38 per cent. A victim with $10,000 income gets 61 per cent of his loss; a victim with income under $5,000 gets only 38 per cent. For fatal accident victims who work, the average loss is $40,000, but the average settlement the family receives is $2,080 or 5 per cent! No benefits are received in many cases, such as where both parties are without fault; where a person is injured in a one-car accident; where a victim is himself at fault as far as the accident is concerned. This system is so indefensible and unjust, we must label it as utterly rotten. The Senate killed the Hart-Magnuson reform, 49 to 46. That was when Senators Bentsen and Tower of Texas played their crucial roles. They voted to kill it. The issue was decided \(on the ostensible question of sending it back to committee Bentsen and Tower had voted for the people instead of against them, no-fault insurance would have survived, 48-47, and could have been enacted into law. If you want the details, see the Congressional Record for Aug. 8, 1972 especially pages 13084-5 and 13093. Memo to legislators We call the new legislature’s attention to the stories which appeared in December on the raw injustice for which the Legislature is responsible: the ruining of the lives of thousands of decent Texas citizens because of the marijuana law. For ten years the Legislature heard testimony on the state prisons from the director of the Texas Prison System, Dr. George Beto. Having recently retired from that position, Beto now says freely what he said privately in the latter stages of his term as director. He favors liberalizing the state’s marijuana laws and a complete re-evaluation of what he calls “all victimless crimes.” He is quoted further in the Austin American of Dec. 11, from an interview at his home near Huntsville: “There’s no known rehabilitation for these people [marijuana users]. They don’t consider what they’ve done to be wrong. I think it’s futile to send them down here. “There is definitely something wrong with the law. We live in a drug culture. We drink. We smoke. I think it’s wrong’to take one and make it a criminal offense to use it. “During a one-year period while I was prison director, the IQ of incoming inmates jumped ten points. I attribute that largely to the great number of marijuana offenders who came in.” Beto says all marijuana offenders, both sellers and users, should be given probation for first offense, and that if the state law parole board will become more lenient with marijuana prisoners. Members of the Legislature, that is not sufficient. You who are not new members have already done brutal and indefensible injustice to all those people, many of them still rotting away their days at Huntsville. And you know that you did this largely from political cowardice. To redeem that, and to do right, you should grant amnesty to prisoners in the state prisons on marijuana-only convictions. And you know it. Watch on the Rhine Dec. 18, 1972. James Lynn, the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is quoted, “You know,