17 March 11, 1977 Fine Food Draught Beer Outdoor Patio YOU’RE US If you feel American Society is shot through with injustice; If you are hopeful that free people can control modern technology to create a humane world; If you are angry when democracy is polluted in the United States, assassinated iti Chile, and suffocated in the Soviet Union. DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST ORGANIZING COMMITTEE For more information, contact: Austin DSOC Dallas DSOC Houston DSOC P.O. Box 7785 817 Twilight P.O. Box 7298 Austin 78712 Cedar Hill 75104 Houston 77008 478-2095 299-5408 777-4470 HANS-PETER OTTO Austin PHOTOGRAPHER Home 476-9880 Business 474-7000 Presnal continued: “I’m not going to try to verify what I say is true. I’m just telling you what I’ve heard.” “I’ve never called anyone to solicit their help or urge them to write letters,” said the embattled St. Clair. Basic philosophical difference The rub between employment agencies and the DLS stems more from antagonistic attitudes than from specific action taken against employment agency abuses like false advertising and exorbitant fees. The DLS is basically a consumer protection agency; the PEARB is a special-interest regulatory board and inherently probusiness. A spokesman for the Texas Private Employment Assn. said the DLS and the House labor committee \(to which DLS matters are rephilosophical difference” with the PEARB. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, chairman of the labor committee, has introduced legislation which would put several non-industry representatives on the nal’s action only after it was too late to testify against it before the LBB, the news was sobering. If established as proposed, the new state agency would gut the DLS and relieve St. Clair of about 90 percent of his 1978 budget appropriation, or some $2.5 million in operating funds. With nine employment agency operators sitting on the PEARB, the board can be counted on to represent industry interests. But agency operators, and their trade association represented by James Presnal, have never felt cozy enough with just an industry-dominated board. They have tried repeatedly to escape DLS oversight altogether. A bill which would have separated the two passed the Legislature in 1973, but was vetoed by Gov. Dolph Briscoe. A similar bill in 1973 died in the House. The other businesses regulated by the DLS do not share the employment agencies’ displeasure with St. Clair’s performance and have, in fact, gone on record in opposition to Bill Presnal’s efforts to reshape the DL$. In their testimony before the House labor committee, LBB staff members were hardly enthusiastic about the-proposal to -split the agencies. Asked if he thought the reorganization would contribute to better government, LBB program analyst Karl Spock replied, “That’s a difficult question to answer . . . I don’t know that [reorganization] would make any great strides or not, to be honest.” PEARB. James Presnal and the TPEA oppose the Johnson bill, which was first sent to the labor committee, but later referred to the business and industry committee, where it is expected to be received less warmly. The business and industry committee is chaired by Rep. Chris Semos of Dallas, who sponsored the 1975 TPEA-backed and James Presnal-written bill to grant selfregulation to the employment agency industry. The labor comittee voted against the LBB recommendation to split the Department of Labor and Standards. Chairman Johnson said afterwards, “I get the impression that they [the PEARB] don’t want any safeguards for the public, only safeguards for the industry.” The LBB proposal to reorganize the DLS must be drafted in bill form and then introduced. Rep. Presnal says “if no one else will introduce the necessary bill,” he will. The proposal is now in the hands of Presnal’s appropriations committee. Should its members reject the labor committee’s unfavorable report, a new round of hearings will follow, and the controversy will go public. Geoff Leavenworth is a freelance writer living in Austin. Charges of coercion When pressed to say who had directed the revision of the original LBB recommendation for PEARB’s abolition, Sheila Beckett of the staff said, “Rep. Presnal made a motion to instruct the staff to develop a new agency, and the first thing to put in there would be the private employment agency regulatory board. Bill Presnal told the Houston Chronicle, “Jackie St. Clair has been calling everybody in the state, blackmailing them and coercing them and threatening them with the AFL-CIO if they didn’t write me” to protest the agency’s division. Presnal said St. Clair, who came to the DLS in 1973 after a long association with the AFL-CIO, told representatives of the other industries DLS regulates he’d have the AFL-CIO oppose bills of interest to them if they did not come to his aid in the fight with Presnal. It’s a family affair: Rep. Bill Presnal is handling the legislation for private employment agencies, his brother James is lobbyist for the Private Employment Association, and his cousins in Bryan and Arlington run employment agencies. THE COMMODORE HOTEL On Capitol Hill Owned by Texans. Run by a Texan. 520 N. Capitol St., NW Washington, D.C. 20001
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