if OrIlme.tina* 4,–pOLITICAL INTELLIGENCE !ALoeffler Enhanced V Shortly after Kent Hance switched to the Republican Party in May, a press release was issued from the Capitol office of Rep. Gerald Geistweidt, a Republican from Mason, claiming that U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler was a ten-toone favorite over Hance among state Republicans. Geistweidt is considered a potential contender for Loeffler’s seat should Loeffler run for governor. Geistweidt said an ad-hoc group of Republican legislators conducted a poll of elected Republican state officials and found that 40 officials favored Loeffler while four chose Hance. Hance also drew quick disapproval from a state right-to-life group for his voting record in Congress on abortion issues. 1/’ Meanwhile, some Texas House Democrats began wearing buttons that said, “Conservative Democrat We’d rather fight than switch.” Beaumont Rep. Mark Stiles, who had been assured by Hance that Hance would not switch, was behind the button effort. Among the Representatives with a “Conservative Democrat” button was the sometimes liberal Democrat from Dallas, Al Granoff. Granoff provoked a minor battle on the House floor May 16 on landlordtenant issues, and brought his sometimes ally Debra Danburg, D-Houston, to the defense of landlords with the charge that this time he had gone “way too far.” Granoff’s bill would have required landlords to hold tenants’ security deposits in an interest-bearing escrow account, instead of using the capital to further their own economic standing. Danburg said she had carried her fair share of landlord-tenant legislation, but always with the agreement of both landlords and tenants. Granoff’s bill, she said, would be unfair to landlords and cause them to raise rents. Granoff responded, “Nothing could be further and [he gave a serene wave] more distant from the truth.” Danburg, however, won approval for an amendment to take the provision out of the bill, and then the entire bill was defeated by the House, 78-34. State Sen. Bill Sarpalius, D-Canyon, is upset about having to return money for speaking fees that exceed the current $250 limit for Texas elected officials. To change that, Sarpalius introduced a bill to remove the limit. Sarpalius explained to the Austin AmericanStatesman ‘s Dave McNeely that “you cannot accept money from an individual or a group but just once a year. Like, I can’t go speak to the Farm Bureau convention two or three times a year and have them give me money. I can only do it one time. And we didn’t want to change any of that stuff. The only thing we’re saying is that $250 ought to be increased. I didn’t see anything wrong with that.” Does this mean that Sarpalius is not receiving as much Farm Bureau money as he thinks he should be getting? Or that he thinks the Farm Bureau should have a convention two or three times a year? For his own good, perhaps, Sarpalius should let the issue slide. Most organizations would probably be more willing to pay Sarpalius not to speak. Death Threat V Sen. Sarpalius brought out the Good Book in the debate over the Sunday Blue Law May 16. He asked the Senate sponsor, Ray Farabee, D-Wichita Falls, to consider “What God told Moses and the Israelites” that being, to work six days and to rest the seventh. “Anyone working on that day must die,” Sarpalius reminded Farabee. But Farabee came back with a Biblical zinger of his own, saying that the Saviour was asked if he would help a traveler out of a ditch on the Sabbath and he had responded that he would. t/ Football players in politics . . If it’s not one quarterback, it’s another. Take former Aggie QB Edd Hargett, now running for Rep. Sam Hall’s newly vacated seat. Or the often-mentioned political aspirations of Roger Staubach. To keep themselves amused in the political off-season, Texas fans often tend to dream up new possibilities. ExGovernor Bill Clements had one last month: Dallas Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry for governor! The subject of Landry’s ambitions came up in a “very delightful, long conversation” Mr. and Mrs. Clements had with Mr. and Mrs. Landry, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on May 15. Cowboys’ president and general manager Tex Schramm said that Landry’s contract would not prevent him from running and that “he would probably make a . . . good governor.” Landry is not without a political past. In 1982 he campaigned with Clements and was honorary campaign chairman for Representative Mike Richards’ unsuccessful run against state Comptroller Bob Bullock. In 1984 Landry endorsed North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms against Governor James Hunt. Check “No” V A gem of an editorial in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal May 10. Making use of what is called in the newspaper trade a “hollerin’ point,” the Lubbock paper’s headline hollered: UNION DUES CHECKOFF? NO! The editorialists, going on word from the Texas Right to Work Committee, explained that the bill in the legislature to allow automatic payroll deductions for state employees would likely result in the spread of unionism in Texas. Strengthening the unions “would be a step in the wrong direction,” according to the paper. “What Texas needs, instead, is a law that would curtail public employee union power in the political process. State employees, like those on the federal payroll, should be barred from active participation in state elections.” Or, as they say on the gridiron, “push ’em back waaaaay back.” Farm Luggage I/ The compromise “Right-to-know” bill that passed the House without debate April 30, slid just as easily through the Senate on May 17. Sponsored by Rep. Ed Watson, D-Deer Park, the bill makes some information about hazardous substances in the workplace available to workers and the public. Specifically left out, however, are the state’s farmworkers, who are not given the right to information about the pesticides and other chemicals in the fields around them. Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, told the Observer a few days before Senate passage that nobody wants to “stir that hornet’s nest,” what with all the controversy in the House between the Agriculture Department and conservative legislators on the pesticide issue. “That’s luggage this bill can’t handle,” Whitmire said. V The executions grow more silent. Jesse De La Rosa of San Antonio became the seventh person to be put to death in Texas in the last three years. He was executed in Huntsville May 14 for shooting a convenience store clerk in a robbery that netted him a six-pack of beer. 12 MAY 31, 1985
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