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was bad. Bilingual was somewhat watered down. And we’ve been losing too many we’ve tried to kill.” Rep. Chris Semos of Dallas said that the death of initiative and referendum and the attempts to repeal blue laws would be negative aspects of the session. He said attempts to provide for schooling for children of illegal aliens was on the plus side, and the water fund would have been good. He said it was good to conclude a session with no new taxes. Rep. Jerry Benedict of Alvin said the interest rate was the worst bill and, even though he voted for many War on Drugs bills, they were also bad. He was surprised that the Agent Orange bill, a good one, passed. Corpus Christi Rep. Arnold Gonzales said the legislature failed to come out with good regulation of chemical waste. “The chemical companies were too strong,” he said. “It’s hard to convince people that chemical waste is dangerous because they don’t see the mushroom cloud.” On the plus side, Gonzales listed the Agent Orange bill, the generic drug bill, teacher pay raises, and money for autistic children and for diagnosing children with heart ailments. Corpus Christi’s Leroy Wieting said the legislature passed a number of good agricultural measures, including one to provide more money for experimental stations and another exempting livestock from the property tax. By Paul Sweeney Austin “Did you know that horse manure is classified as Class I hazardous waste?” Senator Carl Parker, a Port Arthur Democrat, joked during a Senate natural resources committee hearing, at which only two of the eleven committee members were present to enjoy his gift for comedy. “That would come as a big shock to my granddaddy.” While Parker drew laughs with his raffish sense of humor, there was nothing funny about the way he adroitly dismantled House Bill 1407, a potentially strong piece of legislation governing hazardous On the negative side, Wieting said teachers and state employees are “way underpaid” and that the legislature spends too much for brick and mortar rather than for people. He said some teachers are making so little money they have to take second jobs, and the failure of the legislature to address this issue was one of the biggest disappointments. Wiretap Worst “The worst without question is the surreptitious entry bill,” said Rep. John Bryant, Dallas, “because it authorizes people to go in your house and plant a bug.” Though teachers’ salaries were raised, Texas still has not made an indepth commitment to education, he said. “We’re just down at 40th position or below in almost every category of educational excellence,” he said. “The House passed education for undocumented children. We lifted the ceiling for AFDC,” said Rep. Gonzalo Barrientos, Austin. As for bad stuff, Barrientos named interest rates, a bill instructing juries on state parole laws, watering down bilingual education; he thought the wiretap bill the worst of all. The House congressional redistricting plan was “atrocious, obscene. This House overwhelmingly Democratic votes to put out a plan with three new Republicans. I nearly resigned that day.” The session, his fourth, was, he said, “the worst I’ve ever been in . . . the others don’t compare with this one.” MARY LENZ waste disposal that had cleared the House of Representatives in April. With backing from the Sierra Club, the Texas Farm Bureau, the League of Women Voters and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, Rep. Arnold Gonzales of Corpus Christi had managed to win approval of seven tough amendments to the House bill introduced by Rep. Jerry Clark of Buna. Enter Senator Parker. With less than a week to go in the session, before a hurried meeting of the natural resources committee, he presented a bill that he said was “an attempt to blend or to compromise and it’s strictly my compromise, because it’s nobody else’s.” The substitute eliminated most of the Gon zales amendments, which Parker said “were not very palatable basically to the industrial interests in the state” and might “disrupt industry.” “Compromised” away by the Parker substitute were amendments which would have: Required the Department of Water Resources to have a “laundry list” of criteria for detefrnining whether a hazardous waste disposal site should be granted a permit; Set special requirements for disposal of hazardous industrial wastes in a 100-year floodplain; Encouraged industry to consider the alternatives of recycling and waste reduction: Allowed a commissioners court to suggest an alternative site when a hazardous waste disposal site has been proposed within the county. Parker’s testimony prompted Rick Lowerre, the Capitol representative for the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, to testify he thought Parker “did not understand some of the amendments attached on the House floor.” FOR EXAMPLE, Parker declared, “Gonzales had a restriction against disposal anywhere you had a 100-year flood plain.” As a senator from the Golden Triangle in the frequently swampy, lowlying Gulf Coast, Parker said he was fearful this “would stop almost all operations in my entire district. . . . There’s hardly anywhere on the Gulf Coast that hadn’t been flooded at least once in the last hundred years. We let refineries, synthetic rubber plants, fertilizer plants and everything else operate. It does not make sense to mandate that they haul all their waste here to Austin to the Hill Country.” As Lowerre noted, the bill “did not veto siting in the 100-year flood plain. All it did was say if you’re going to site there, you’ve got to do it so you do not cause contamination,” precisely because there is so much flooding in these industrialized areas. When it came to the commissioners court amendment, Parker charged incorrectly that the provision meant “commissioners court could come in there and to an alternative site selected by them.” Moreover, Parker warned darkly that this law would encourage graft and corruption. A county commissioner might choose a more expensive site belonging to a friend of a commissioner’s because the official “wants to make his friend rich. You might find one bad apple.” And Parker opposed the “laundry list” of siting issues on the argument that THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15 Parker’s Deadly Kidding On Hazardous Wastes