aggressively fight it. It’s always a serious mistake to take anybody for granted.” Not only must consumer lobbyists talk to members of the legislature, they must also talk to other lobbyists. “Most people think the process is working with legislators,” Barger says. “That’s only part of the process. You have to anticipate the opposition and determine its strength.” “Our legislature tends to be heavily impacted by lobby groups,” Mattox has said, stating the obvious, so it’s necessary to gain “at least the acquiescence of a number of those groups.” Tommy Townsend, lobbyist for the Texas Association whose acquiescence was necessary. Although the bill finally approved by the legislature mirrors the federal anti-trust law, the original version was considerably tougher, Townsend said. For example, the Mattox team had proposed civil fines of $1,500 per day of violation, with no limit. Federal law sets the maximum fine at $1 million. After negotiations with Townsend, Mattox accepted the $1 million limit for state civil penalties also. In addition, treble damages will be permitted only when the monopolistic practice is adjudged to be “willful or flagrant.” Such changes, though necessary to neutralize opposition, do not make all consumer advocates happy. Barger says, “A lot of people on the consumer side would think that is giving up too much.” She does not agree. A failure to compromise for the “half a loaf,” would have spelled a fourth defeat for the reform legislation. Other language, which may or may not be meaningful, was added to the bill, to make it more palatable to realtors. For example, currently judges interpret the law to say that evidence of uniform price all by itself will not be sufficient to prove an anti-trust violation. To lawyers this seems fairly obvious. Townsend, on behalf of his group, insisted on putting that interpretation into the statute. The doctors’ lobby also insisted on adding language which may prove unnecessary. In a people-act-like-people kind of reflection, Barger says, you wonder if people don’t feel that they have to have their mark on the legislation,” before they can agree to it. So, here is a perfectly normal piece of legislation that brings Texas into the 20th Century, at least in one area, but the process, it seems, is full of quirks. Jim Sylvester, chief of the anti-trust division of the attorney general’s office, says the bill passed this time “because we had an attorney general interested in seeing it happen and the experience of the past three sessions.” Linda Aaker credits “a lot of hard work,” and many hours of negotiations, by numerous lobbyists and a handful of legislators. Mattox takes some credit, but likens the passage of the bill to an election won by one vote. When the battle’s that close, he says, every vote is the critical one. Gene Fondren, masters lobbyist, says “It’s the norm, not the exception,” for a bill to be introduced several times before its passage. Lobbyist Carol Barger, who relishes the bill’s passage, finally says, “Nothing exists in a vacuum and it’s so complex that none of us ever understand why it happened. ” Richards Treasurer’s office had been notable only for the colorful names of treasurers Jesse James and Warren G. Harding. James had been Treasurer in years of relatively low interest rates, and the relationship between the treasury and the banks was, well, friendly. James and Harding kept the bankers happy, because the state’s money was secure in their banks’ vaults. The system represented nothing so much as welfare for the banks. The state’s millions were deposited in hunks and dribbles in banks across the state, with much of the funds sitting in demand terest. James didn’t consider the potential earnings from deposits to be important, since the banks were already helping out the state by keeping its money safely. As interest rates rose, this attitude meant the state was losing out on a considerable amount of potential interest earnings. Says one banker, “When interest got high enough to mean something, Jesse was too old to go with the flow. The banks started taking advantage of the state.” Harding, James’ one-term successor, John Schwartz is a UT law student and former editor of the Daily Texan. 6 OCTOBER 14, 1983 moved the more sedentary state funds into interest-bearing accounts during his tenure. Yet millions still sat idle. The system kept the bankers happy, and the bankers were the main constituency of the Treasury. After all, who else would pay for the statewide political campaigns for candidates for such a dull office? Texas needed to sink its money into interest-bearing bank accounts, and to develop a statewide cash-management system. But not everyone was happy with the Treasury’s management. The state’s financial losses were well-documented in bristling and indignant newspaper articles \(a seven-part series in 1978 by the Houston Post ‘s Felton West cited annual losses of interest income in the millions of dollars, and a 20-year loss of $130 someone with no banking experience could have studied the newspaper clippings and put together a good briefing book and a sound plan of action for the treasury. NN RICHARDS’ treasury reno vation is based on the mastery of a relatively simple concept: float. High interest rates mean money can cost and earn lots of money. The more money, the greater the earnings. And state deposits are a lot of money; the Texas Treasury is the state’s largest depositor, controlling two and one-half billion dollars in Texas banks at any time. The game of interest earnings had long been a perquisite of private financial institutions; Richards wanted the treasury to play, too. “Everybody plays the float,” Richards says. “The float is always in the system. It just depends on at what point it’s in whose hands.” In her 1973 progress report to the legislature she states what could be called the First Law of Float: “Cash is a commodity and money makes money. For every hour state money is not invested, Texas loses money.” In order to put float on the Treasury’s side, Richards squeezed out inefficiency and speeded deposits to state banks. The simplest changes merely involved tightening up office practices so that the Treasury can handle 70,000 individual items each day. Richards sped up deliveries of checks of the Treasury, and sped the checks that get to the Treasury on their way to the bank. Each state agency that collects money and more than a hundred do, from the comptroller’s office on down has been asked to cut the amount of time it takes for items to arrive at their agency and get to the Treasury. Garry Mauro’s land office had been in the habit of bringing the money bag over whenever it got full, which sometimes took a week or more. Now Mauro’s office makes two or three deliveries each day.