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This may have been the year that the Farm Bureau lost its controlling grip on all matters agricultural. This is partly due to the fact that the legislature is finally beginning to reflect the shift in population from rural to industrial areas that began forty years ago. But, in large part, it is due to the fact that the Bureau’s uncompromising, reactionary rhetoric will no longer fly in a legislature that is more sophisticated and has larger minority voting blocs than in previous years. The Farm Bureau sells insurance and tires and spends each legislative session representing itself as the voice of American agriculture when it is in fact the voice of American agri-business. This year the Bureau lost nearly every key bill it was pushing. For the Farm Bureau the chickens may have come home to roost. The Bureau’s close association with Sen. Bill Sarpalius may have been that senator’s undoing. Sarpalius’ inability to understand the nuances of Senate politics led him to kill a farmworkers compensation bill with two filibusters and thereby insure the deaths of several major bills when compromises to save both farmers and farmworkers were within reach. While the Farm Bureau may consider the killing of the farmworker bill a significant victory, the killing of agriculture low interest loans and trucking deregulation, which came as a result of the Sarpalius/Farm Bureau position, were a much more significant defeat. It is estimated that Texas agriculture lost $34 million per year when the legislature failed to deregulate the trucking of agricultural commodities, lost $25 million in a grain storage bond program, and lost $500 million in low interest loans that would have been 14 JUNE 24, 1983 outdoor advertisers for the removal of signs based upon the loss of projected his bill exempting smaller corporations from the protection of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act when dealing with larger corporations. It also included the passage of a “lemon law” that allowed auto dealers to judge dealer responsibility in the case of a defective auto. This bill was the auto dealer lobby’s answer to a strong dealer liability bill sponsored by Reps. Clint Hackney and Al Price, which died in committee. The House also showed no particular reticence in pass ing a bill pushed by the auto dealer’s lobby which increased the rate dealers could charge for credit life insurance. At session’s end, Gib Lewis had, to everyone’s surprise, regained some degree of power and appeared to be an even shot to repeat as speaker in 1985. Two of the more prominent candidates to succeed Lewis Messer and Schlueter may have lost a little ground in a future speaker’s race Schlueter for his thinly-disguised arrogance and Messer for his public identification with the worst impulses of the business lobby and for alienating most members with his Calendars Committee methods. Gerald Hill, D-Austin, meanwhile became a favorite to succeed Lewis, largely by virtue of his moderating influence and ability to work with all constituencies. The House session closed with Rep. Jim Rudd of Brownfield delivering a scathing attack in helping to defeat a bill by Sen. Craig Washington and Rep. Frank Tejeda that would provide money for legal services for the poor from interest earned on money in certain escrow accounts held by lawyers. It was a meanspirited way to end a session not noted for its generosity. provided by the Land Commissioner’s office. The responsibility for those losses rests squarely on the shoulders of Sarpalius and the Bureau. The Farmer’s Union, which represents 10,000 family farms in the state, was not entirely disappointed with the session. While he lamented the loss of the ag bond bills and the ag trucking bill, Farmer’s Union President Mike Moeller was pleased that they were able to kill bills that would have weakened the Homestead Protection laws. The bills did not get out of committee in either house. At the same time, the issue of farmworker rights may have finally come of age. While a strong bill giving workers cause for legal action when victimized by pesticide abuse was defeated, a weaker bill by Rep. Rene Oliveira \(D-for further action and puts growers and applicators on notice that they will have to consider the consequences of their pesticide use. A bill providing workers’ compensation for farmworkers passed the House for the first time and had the votes for passage in the Senate but was killed by Sarpalius’ eleventh hour filibuster. Backed by labor and the Mexican American Caucus, the bill stands a good chance of passage in a special session. Lt. Gov. Hobby seems to be moving to have the bill considered in special session after drawing criticism from members of the caucus for not recognizing Sen. Lloyd Doggett’s amendment that could have ended Sarpalius’ filibuster and saved the bill. Ten years of work by the United Farmworkers and hard politicking by lobbyists for the AFL-CIO and Texas Rural Legal Aid’s Farmworker Advocacy Project may finally be bearing fruit.0