Page 17


subcommittee’s bill. Moore said he didn’t plan to hold any more State Affairs meetings during the session. He relented, however, and held one on Tuesday at which time committee members sent Meier back to subcommittee for further work on the bill. Finally, on Wednesday, May 23, the committee passed the measure 8-3 with Doc Blanchard of Lubbock, Mike McKinnon of Corpus Christi and Peyton McKnight of Tyler voting no. Moore didn’t vote at all. “It’s a horrible bill, but I’ve been coerced,” he said in an apparent reference to pressures from Hobby. H.B. 4 was significantly weakened on the Senate floor by what became universally known as “the crippling Blanchard amendment.” The amendment required a political candidate to file only one final expense report within 60 days of clearing his campaign account. Voting for the crippler were A. M. Aikin of Paris, Blanchard, Chet Brooks of Houston, Tom Creighton of Mineral Wells, Harris of Dallas, Herring of Austin, Jack Hightower of Vernon, Grant Jones of Abilene, McKinnon of Corpus, McKnight of Tyler, Walter Mengden of Houston, Moore, Ogg, Tati Santiestaban of El Paso, Max Sherman of Amarillo and John Traeger of Seguin. The measure was significantly different from the original House bill. Instead of requiring reports to be sent to a state ethics commission, it created an election commission composed of the Democratic and Republican state chairmen, a county political chairman designated by each of them, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, a civil appeals court judge and a district judge. It required only candidates who have opponents to file reports. Failure to file a statement was made a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The House wouldn’t accept the Senate amendments and so H.B. 4 was hurried off to a conference committee. The conferees reached agreement with considerably less trauma than did their counterparts who were struggling with the lobby and ethics. In its final version, the bill applies to state, county, city and other local officials. The reports must provide names and addresses of all campaign contributors. Dummy political committees designed to shield the are specifically prohibited. And the crippling Blanchard amendment was deleted. The Senate approved the measure unanimously. The House adopted it 141-4, with Canales, Dean Cobb, D-Dumas, Nick Nichols, D-Houston, and Billy Williamson, D-Tyler, voting no. J.F., K.N., M.I. 8 The Texas Observer Austin On the last day of the session, House conferees did, as they so felicitously phrased it, sell a drug bill to the lower house. By a vote of 84-58, the House adopted a compromise controlled substances act that reduces possession of four ounces or less of marijuana to a misdemeanor. The bill also sets out penalties for other or increasing present punishments in most cases. It institutes a registration and regulation procedure to control the manufacture and distribution of legitimate drugs. It directs the Governor’s Department of Community Affairs to encourage drug research, work out educational programs and act as a clearinghouse for federal funds. It even does some housecleaning in the old dangerous drug law. It has something in it for everyone: a little marijuana, reform, a little get-tough-on-you-know-who, a little recodification. As a result, no one really expected the House to turn it down. Still, there was more than a little holding of the breath when Hangin’ John Hoestenbach got up to speak against the conference committee report. Hoestenbach had been largely responsible for the lynch-mob atmosphere that produced the House floor version of the bill, and he was, one feared, capable of doing it again. But on the one-shot, vote it up or vote it down Last Day, Hoestenbach’s denunciation was not enough. To be fair, it seemed his heart was not really in it. He did recite the various treasons of the conferees, the get-tough provisons they had let slip away. But he could not muster, in one address, the righteous wrath of a month ago. THE COMPROMISE bill had been put together in a series of sober, point-by-point sessions of the conferees. Rep. Tim Von Dohlen, a pharmacist from Goliad, chaired the committee and set the plodding pace, yielding ground grudgingly or stubbornly holding out for the House version. Like Frodo’s aunt Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, he had brought a detailed inventory and insisted on going right through it. Most of the time Sens. Jim Wallace, D-Houston, Tati Santiesteban, D-El Paso, and Babe Schwartz, D-Galveston, had the offensive. They also had Griffin Smith, the young lawyer who was the Kennard committee’s staff counsel \(Obs., For the first couple of hours, each of Von Dohlen’s sentences was punctuated by the flipping open of one or another of Smith’s files, followed by a full stop while the relevant message was relayed to Wallace, followed by Wallace’s reply. The reply was never vague, never off the mark. But then it was hard to miss Von Dohlen. He sat, inevitably, at the head of the conference table. Roy Coffee, the governor’s man, posted himself just behind the chairman and just off to one side. From the lower end of the table, where the younger members of the press corps sat scowling at both of them, Coffee’s face seemed to be suspended in the air, a pouting Cheshire cat on Von Dohlen’s shoulder. The senators hammered away, aided and abetted by House conferee Craig Washington \(and by Rep. Jim Mattox, who joined in for the fun of it until Chairman Dohlen and Coffee never lost their joint facial expression, a silent “no” reminiscent of a polite fundamentalist negotiating with the agents of Beelzebub. It had seemed, before the conferees ever met, that the five senators \(Charles Herring, D-Austin, and Ike Harris, R-Dallas, were also appointed, but rarely negotiating position. After all, the upper house did not spend a full day “expressing its will” on the questions to be decided. In point of fact, senators were not nearly as exercised over the issue as were their counterparts in the House. Their Jurisprudence Committee brought out a. bill, and they accepted it. Wallace carried the bill, but Mag Dog Mengden carried the show on the floor. He introduced a series of amendments to stiffen penalties, all of which were rejected. He also contributed most of the debate. “In marijuana, the sole purpose is to get high,” he said at one point. “This is a dangerous drug all the facts are not in.” “The Indians have been smoking it for centuries,” Sen. Raul Longoria, D-Edinburg, protested. “I don’t want to live on a reservation, if that’s what it does to you,” answer Mengd en. Upon popular demand, Mengden read excerpts from a University of California study he originally had unearthed for committee hearings. The study contends that smoking dope can cause “emotional senility.” “That means that chronic use can turn a person into a zombie,” Mengden explained to the Senate’s delight. The senators voted to stay with the committee’s version anyway, with only nine nays \(Don Adams, Doc Blanchard, Bill And other issues New drug law