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Before they sleep Austin With only two weeks to go until sine die, the 63rd Ree-form Legislature is stumbling inexorably into history as one of the least productive sessions in a quarter of a century. Both houses have done good and thorough committee work. But the House has bogged down in unnecessarily lengthy floor debates on the big bills, while the Senate, under Bill Hobby’s undemanding leadership, has yet to cope with most of the really big issues of the session. Legislators have managed to pass a resolution to put annual legislative sessions on the ballot Nov. 6. If voters pass the proposed constitutional amendment, Texas still won’t have a full-time legislative body, but lawmakers at least will get to tackle their work annually instead of biennially. SJR 8 would authorize the Legislature to 12 The Texas Observer IDA PRESS 901 W 24th St Austin Multi copy service. Call 477-3641 Arica Open , Path IN AUSTIN PROGRAMS OFFERED IN CON-SCIOUS EVOLUTION INCLUDE: Weekly “Introduction to Arica” Thursdays 8:00 PM 16-hour Weekend Training Saturday & Sunday 10-6 PM May 19 & 20 and every weekend thereafter \($45 General; $25 Students and 40-day Intensive Training June 11-July 26 Arica’s programs are designed to help people experience the energy available in high levels of consciousness. The training works simultaneously with the mind, body & emotions. Rapid individual results are achieved by using energy generated by a group working together. Post Office Box 5172 Austin 78703 meet for regular sessions of 180 days as compared to the present 140 days in odd-numbered years and for 60-day tax an d appropriation sessions in even-numbered years. The governor could still call 30-day special sessions to consider emergency matters. Legislators’ salaries would be increased from $4,800 to $15,000 a year. Per diem would go up from $14 to $18. Voters have turned down annual sessions before, presumably because they think that the less legislators meet the less money they’re going to spend. True, but a lot of needed legislation gets ignored during Texas’ biennial drink and gabathons. THE PRESENT session provides an object lession in the pratfalls of the biennial setup. Utilities regulation, the Little Hoover Commission, all of the major environmental bills, group auto insurance, the shield bill, bills limiting the terms of the governor and the House speaker and the documentary stamp tax all seem heading toward oblivion. Only one of Speaker Price Daniel’s nine reform bills the open meetings law has been sent to the governor. The Senate Jurisprudence Committee is still sitting on the open records, lobby regulation and political campaign finance disclosure bills. A watered-down ethics measure is finally out of committee, but it has not reached the Senate floor. The Senate has not acted on marijuana reform, the death penalty, truth in lending \(a misnomer if there ever was unitization, the tax collection package or the governor’s habitual traffic offenders bill. The House still has to cope with the water district reform bills, the juvenile code, reorganization of the judicial system, legislative redistricting and limitations on college expansion. Neither house has .4011111.411104.0NOINIIIIIN.1=1.,.111111.1.11111i104111 1.11111MIKNINIM. / 1 Willie Morris’ 1 1 NEW NOVEL i 1 The Last Of The 1 Southern Girls 1 1 Now available at the subscriber discount I Mail your name, address and remittance to: I 1 THE TEXAS OBSERVER I BOOKSTORE i 600 West 7th i i Austin, Texas 78701 11111111.114111INWNW,10.1110111.0411110111110111111.11011111.4% debated the wieldy penal code revision, new school financing proposals or the unitary primary bill. Both the House and Senate have passed their own bilingual education bills. It remains to be seen if they can get together on a single bill. And the appropriations bill and Houston’s mass transit authority are still in conference committee. The session has been especially disappointing for environmentalists. Ned Fritz, chairman of the Texas Committee on Natural Resources, persists in expressing a vague flicker of hope for HB 646, the Environmental Quality Act. The bill would establish an Office of Environmental Quality to coordinate state agencies and to set state policy on environmental protection. Sponsor Carl Parker of Port Arthur gave up ,on the bill May 2 after DeWitt Hale of Corpus Christi and Ray Hutchinson of Dallas talked House members into tacking a number of major exemptions onto it. All 17 Republicans voted for the exemptions. The bill was opposed by a Who’s Who of corporate interests the Texas Municipal League, the Texas Association of Builders, the Texas Chemical Council, Midcontinent Oil and Gas, the Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas Manufacturers Association. Speaking on behalf of the TMA, lobbyist Jim Yancy, Jr., said the bill was “going back to a vigilante concept of government.” “I see the vultures in the gallery ready to pick the bones,” Parker said as he pulled the bill down. “I don’t blame them; they’ve represented their clients well.” As if the corporate “vultures” weren’t enough, Hugh Yantis, director of the Texas Water Quality Board, criticized the bill and Charles Purnell, speaking for Governor Briscoe, allowed as how the governor’s office has had strong reservations concerning such a “super agency.” \(Char White of Environmental Action went so far as to accuse Briscoe of killing the bill by discouraging certain unnamed witnesses to appear at a hearing on the bill. Briscoe Fritz’ tenuous hopes were based on the possibility that citizen-lobbyists could talk a minimum of 22 House members into changing their votes and recalling the Environmental Quality Act. “Our other priority bills . are virtually hopeless,” Fritz said. In April, Rep. Hawkins Menefee of Houston pulled down HB 205, granting citizens the right to sue polluters and foot-dragging pollution control agencies, after Hutchison got state agencies exempted from the bill. In other unsavory actions, the Senate Natural Resources Committee, on a motion by Sen. Walter Mengden, voted 7-0 to kill SB 645. The measure, sponsored by Babe