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nixoBSERvER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1985 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 77, No. 11 741310,.’w May 31, 1985 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger CALENDAR EDITOR Chula Sims EDITORIAL INTERNS: Hanno T. Beck, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Terri Langford, Wendy Parker, Roger Williams WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Al Watkins LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Alicia Daniel EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin,; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Mis.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt, Tehachapi, Cal., Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, Craig. Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Ed Garcia, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz, Matt Lyon, Rick Piltz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Alicia Daniel. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Mark Antonuccio, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos :Lowry, Miles Mathis, Joe McDermott, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. A journal, of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit; Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Advertising & Development Director Subscription Manager Circulation Assistant Consultant Cliff Olofson Dana Loy Alicia Daniel Stefan Wanstrom Frances Barton Editorial and Business Office . 600 West 7th Stieet, Austin, Texas 78701 The Texas Observer at Austin, Texas. Subscription rates, including 5 1/8% sales tax: one year $23. ‘two years 542, three years $59. One year rate for hill-time students, $15. Back issues S2 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Copyright 1985 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. 2 MAY 31, 1985 EDITORIAL Taking A Stand Against Wiretaps Austin JUDGING FROM THE WAY the Texas wiretap law passed through the House early this session, one might have thought the Watergate-era suspicion of police bugging was long forgotten. Gone were the days of such questions as the one Sen. Oscar Mauzy asked Sen. Ike Harris in 1973, as Harris carried a forerunner of the present wiretap law. “Is Gordon Liddy one of your witnesses?” Mauzy asked. Instead, by 1985, legislators were doing their best to bear out the assessment of former director of the Texas Civil Liberties Union John Duncan. Duncan said, after the legislature passed the first state wiretap law in 1981 amidst a tremendous “War on Drugs” hype, that talk of drugs tends to make politicians “turn off their minds.” But Sen. Oscar Mauzy is still working in the Senate and he remains an unreconstructed opponent of police wiretapping. In addition, he has been joined by Sen. Craig Washington of Houston, who, at about the time that Mauzy was asking that pointed question about G. Gordon Liddy, was himself a target of Houston Police Department surveillance and wiretapping for supposed radical activities. And so, when it came time for the Senate to renew the four-year-old Texas wiretap law \(which would have expired amendments. And on May 15, when the wiretap bill came up on the Senate floor, Washington began to talk about those amendments. He began talking just before noon, he talked through lunch, and into the afternoon, and into the evening, and all the way up until midnight. By the end of his talk, senators had been reminded many times about the abuses of police power that came to light in the Nixon era. SEN. ED HOWARD, the conservative Democrat from Texarkana, was carrying the wiretap bill that passed the House on March 6 by a vote of 130-17. He had accepted in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee an amendment that would once again “sunset” the law this time setting it for expiration in 1993. But he fought off attempts by Washington in committee to put other restrictions on the: law. The committee passed the bill to the Senate on April 30, with Washington casting the only vote against it. One thing Washington had tried to do was to eliminate the authority of the state snoopers at the Department of Public bugs. Sen. Kent Caperton, D-Bryan, had waged a battle against the “covert entry” authority when the bill passed in 1981. Perhaps knowing that covert entry would continue to be a touchy issue in the Senate this year, the DPS has laid low for the last four years and refrained from using the authority. Sen. Caperton, the chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, was the only one to join Washington in voting against covert entry in committee. Since it hadn’t been used, he said, “I wonder why they need it.” Washington again offered his