Oh yes. “Right-to-work” was passed, as a separate submission, by 94 to 65. If voters approve it and the draft constitution as a whole, it will be added to the General Provisions article. If the constitution fails but “right-to-work” is accepted, the anti-union language will go into the old charter. Even before the shockingly humdrum treatment of Section 22, debate had been generally restrained. Still, earlier sessions had their moments. One moment stretched over two days as the delegate’s debated various proposals on the subject of gambling. The convention held the “Lotteries and Gift Enterprises” section upright like a punch-drunk sparring partner untilevery jab and roundhouse hook could be landed. Anybody who can provide an accurate blow-by-blow without referring to the convention journal wins a free trip to the dog races in Juarez. Reporters’ notes ended up including lines like “A Gam strk ‘B’ for `ltd ltries,’ ” which translates as a desperate attempt to keep up with an amendment by Sen. Bob Gammage to remove a reference to specific games like Bingo in favor of general language about “limited lotteries.” \(If anybody remembers correctly, that proposal was defeated as an obvious When all the talk about cutting high cards to decide close votes and all the jeremaiads about taking the bread out of babes’ mouths were finished, the article Bingo and raffles for charitable non-profit amendment, to be added to whichever constitution is in effect after the November elections, prohibiting pari-mutuel Morse race betting. ONE OF THE things the gambling debate lacked was an impassioned personal privilege speech. Chalk one up for the delegates’ discussion of the environment, which ended with just such an address by Rep. Ray Hutchison of Dallas. Hutchison, a Republican, attracted much attention and 10 The Texas Observer not a little respect as a freshman last session, both as a competent legislative craftsman and as a formidable conservative. It is unlikely that anything he does during the rest of the convention will outplay the notices he got on May 30. Hutchison ran and won with an amendment that added the following language to the draft constitution: “Designated state agencies, as trustees for the benefit of the people of Texas, shall perform duties imposed on such agencies by laws enacted by the Legislature conserving, protecting and regulating the use and appropriation of the state’s air, surface waters and such other public natural resources as may be designated by law. Persons, as beneficiaries, can enforce this trust only by suits against such agencies and only in the manner provided by law.” The convention had already rejected a proposal, sponsored by Sens. Lloyd Doggett of Austin and Babe Schwartz of Galveston and Reps. Neil Caldwell of Alvin and Fred Agnich of Dallas, to include the “trustee” concept in the constitution without limiting citizen suits to enforce the trusteeship. Argument over Hutchison’s amendment quickly got down to argument about suits against polluters as opposed to suits against state agencies. Environmentalists, who had supported the Doggett language, preferred constitutional silence to provisions like Hutchison’s, especially those which, as his did, implicitly invalidated direct legal action against polluters. Through repeated votes convention stuck with Hutchison’s language. What prompted the “silver-tongued lawyer” \(a description from floor debate to speak on personal privilege was the press coverage of his victory. In particular, he was incensed over two sentences from The Dallas Morning News and The Houston Post. The News said in a caption, “Hutchison heads up successful effort to keep citizens from suing polluters.” The Post’s Felton West said, “Hutchison, who torpedoed the citizens’ suit bill in the House in 1973 with an amendment that gutted it so badly that its author abandoned it, carried out a successful counterattack that would constitutionally prohibit the Legislature from authorizing citizens’ suits against polluters.” Hutchison called the statements “absolutely and unequivocally … and incredibly false.” It’s difficult to avoid picking nits here. The two papers may well have misinterpreted Hutchison’s motives. They also happened to be correct in their interpretations of what “only by suits against such agencies” means. And West was correct in recalling the Hutchison amendment to Rep. Hawkins Menefee’s H.B. 205 of last session. Menefee’s intent was to allow citizens an opportunity to bypass the Texas Water Quality Board and the Texas Air Control Board by suing polluters. Hutchison’s amendment would have allowed defendants in such suits to use their compliance with TWQB or TACB guidelines as a defense. Menefee did refuse to continue with his bill once Hutchison had amended it. HUTCHISON included in his personal privilege speech a recommendation that the convention reconsider the environmental section, saying that he would so move “whenever it is sound, or it is parliamentarily time for us to do so.” His prospective motion was quickly seconded by environmentalists. Don Walden of the Sierra Club said the constitution should remain silent on conservation rather than include Hutchison’s provision. Former Sen. Don Kennard, chairman of the Texas Environmental Coalition, said, “It is obvious that [delegates] are not ready to move ahead on the environment. As a matter of fact, they are moving backward. … We would rather leave it out of the constitution than tie our hands.” A week after his amendment was adopted, Hutchison was calling for a meeting of all interested parties to work out universally acceptable language. One environmentalist wasn’t at all sure he wanted to attend: “I know what Ray’s trying to do. He’s trying to recapture his position. He’s trying to get attention away from the language he actually got put into the constitution.” Hutchison was offering to accept language suggested by Caldwell to make the right to sue anti-pollution agencies an “addition to such other individual rights and remedies as may exist or be granted under law.” Hutchison considers himself a constitutional and legislative technician working towards finding a consensus provision that would safeguard the environment while avoiding certain procedural pitfalls. He also provided the Observer with a cogent rationale for making the right to sue agencies constitutional. The point, he said, is to provide citizen access in exactly the right place. While the constitution provides a policy of environmental protection and the legislature delegates authority for specific safeguards Hutchison pointed out,, the “standard-setting, fact-finding, rules-and-regulations” process has to rest somewhere. Courts, he feels, are not the places for such functions; state executive agencies are. Thus guaranteeing citizen access to them is the only way to counteract “industry’s working relationship” with agencies. Hutchison makes a point of describing the friction between himself and “industry” on the pollution question. His conviction that businessmen will have to “get behind sound and sensible environmental legislation” is not earning him any friends, he says. Environmentalists have charged that the Hutchison
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