Back from the dead IT Political Intelligence They were calling it the “mini-convention,” because the subject matter was so similar and the duration so much shorter. In two hours of work in the Senate and two days’ worth in the House, the 1974 Constitutional Convention finally came to an end. A series of eight propositions, representing substantially the same proposed constitution as did the infamous Resolution 32 of the Con Con’s closing hours, were passed by a two-thirds vote of each house. As the Observer went to press, the joint resolution containing the proposition still lacked Senate concurrence in House amendments, but all hands expected the Senate to accept the relatively minor changes made by the House. That means voters will get a shot at the thing in November. In the Senate, right to work was the major sticking point, as it was last summer when the draft constitution was defeated by a three-vote margin. Senators voted to table a right to work amendment, 16-14. In the House, only three articles \(Education, Judiciary, and General received the necessary 100 votes by margins of three to nine votes. But neither conservatives nor liberals could muster anything like a majority to amend even the most controversial sections “equal educational opportunity,” and “local enrichment.” The most significant House amendment, which represented yet another permutation of the non-UT, non-Texas A&M higher education fund \(based on a continuation of the 10 cents per $100 out in advance by Speaker Billy Clayton, Rep. Ray Hutchison of Dallas, and college lobbyists. It defused the colleges’ opposition to the Education article, which came closest to failing. No right to work amendment was even offered. When the voting was over in the House, there were congratulations all around. Sponsors Hutchison and Bill Sullivant gave special credit to committee staffers who worked out an intricate “transition schedule” designed to make whatever 8 The Texas Observer Bentsen bill on its way to Governor Briscoe’s desk. The Senate amended it to include a “self-destruct” clause, under which the provisions of the bill would expire on March 1, 1977. That means that only one presidential preference primary the 1976 one, in which U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen will be a candidate would be held under the law. What with the House refusing to accept that amendment, the bill was packed off to conference committee for adjustment. The Senate forthwith voted 16-14 to instruct its conferees not to yield on the self-destruct clause, and that is where matters stood as the Observer went to press. The self-destruct amendment was introduced by Sen. Babe Schwartz of Galveston, and was adopted by a three-vote margin. Three of the five Senate conferees voted for the amendment on the Senate floor. Dallas Rep. Jim Mattox argued that the House should accept the amendment, saying, “If he [Bentsen] wants to run again in 1980, he can come back and we’ll pass it for him again.” U.S. Rep. Bob Eckhardt is getting honors right and left. In March he was elected chairman of the Democratic Study Group, which provides research and legislative analysis for liberal House members. And Larry L. King, writing in New Times magazine, selected Eckhardt as one of the 10 “brightest” members of the House. King called Eckhardt a “quiet force” who is “maybe the best constitutional lawyer in a body of lawyers.” Mixed results It’s city election time, with mixed results from all over. In Dallas, incumbent Mayor Wes Wise and incumbent council members Garry Weber and Adlene Harrison led a mini-revolt against the establishment Citizens Charter Association \(see Obs., independents will be joined on the council by a fourth \(former Councilman William Rose Renfroe, an anti-busing activist, who is in a runoff against CCA-backed incumbent thus assured a continued majority, but by a smaller margin than ever before. The CCA winners were black Mayor Pro Tem George Allen, Lucy Patterson, L. A. Murr, William Nicol, John Leedom, and Richard Smith. Wise’s victory over former CCA president John Schoellkopf drew the most attention. Wise whipped Schoellkopf all over the city, which encouraged feelings that the election marked some sort of turning point for city politics. It was Dallas’ first city election on a single-member district system that preserves three at-large races \(two for the was the district-by-district voting that, everyone assumed, would most hurt the CCA. But the strongest independent candidates Wise, Weber, and Harrison were those who ran city-wide. In San Antonio, the voting turned out to be mainly for the purpose of narrowing the field. As expected, the two slates running this year dominated a mixed bag of 53 candidates for nine places. The Good Government League, which is what the establishment in city politics calls itself, picked up one winner, one loser, and seven runoff spots. The Independent Team also had one winner, but no outright losers: its other five candidates made it past the elimination round. So the runoffs, like the first election, will be mostly a matter of slate against slate. In the mayor’s race, where no IT candidate was entered, Lila Cockrell, a GGL incumbent council member, is expected to waltz in. She came close to winning without a runoff, and other GGL candidates are probably just as glad she didn’t. The GGL billed itself as “Lila’s team” this year, hoping to spread her strength around, and may need a big name to attract voters in the runoffs. Two of its second-round races are against incumbent councilmen on the IT side. In the other runoff with no IT chunks of the draft that voters accept fit with any pieces of the old constitution left intact by rejection of other chunks of the new draft.’ \(If that seems unclear, try There were commendations for Clayton, Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, Gov. Dolph Briscoe, and the new members of the House. And at the last minute, Rep. Mickey Leland reminded everyone of the credit due former Speaker Price Daniel, Jr. There was more than a little talk that . liberals might try to hold up passage of the General Provisions article as part of a plan to force utilities regulation legislation out of committee. But negotiations were successful, and State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Uher rose to announce that his committee would kick out a bill by the end of April. Self-destruct’ A funny thing happened to the
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