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out of court without the approval of the affected agency. Mattox and his supporters called it the “Bum Bright bill,” claiming it was the former Texas A&M regent’s revenge for Mattox’s agreement to a settlement allowing women to play in the Aggie band. Rep. Betty Denton, D-Waco, argued that the bill would create enormous state expense in increased court costs, while others questioned the constitutionality of the bill’s intent. Mike McKinney, D-Centerville, told the House, “I have a couple of friends, both of ’em with the name Kent [Caperton and Hance], and they’re both interested in this job one on one side and one on the other.” He argued that the bill was political in nature and that a political solution one year could become a political nightmare the next. The bill surprised everyone when it passed the House, 7465, on second reading. While Ceverha argued that the bill was designed to return the Attorney General to defending the constitution, there was little evidence that it was anything but a political attack on Mattox. When the bill passed the House on second reading, Mattox and his supporters began an intensive lobbying effort. The next day it paid off, with the defeat of the bill on third reading by a 67-67 vote. During the verification of the vote \(called to make sure each vote Rep. Lena Guerrero had to pull Rep. Al Price, D-Beaumont, from the bathroom, she said from the Speaker’s office, Price said at the last moment to verify his vote against the bill. The second, and more concerted, political attack involved the campaign by agribusiness and conservative interests to restrict Hightower’s regulatory authority and to bleed his Agriculture Department budget. This effort was orchestrated by agricultural commodity groups, the Texas Chemical Council, and the Texas Farm Bureau, who have always opposed any efforts to protect farmworkers and would probably have targeted Hightower’s budget for cuts regardless of his work before the session. But they were inspired with new zeal when Hightower announced late in 1984 new regulations for the use of pesticides. Chief actor in this agri-drama was House Agriculture and Livestock Committee chair Robert Saunders, D-LaGrange, who began the process of cutting up Hightower’s budget with visions of a future Agriculture Commissionership in his head and came out of the entire process a legislator whose credibility was destroyed, having allowed himself to be exploited as a pawn of agribusiness and chemical interests. The budget and oversight subcommittee of Saunders’s committee had initial responiibility for gutting Hightower’s appropriation for the coming biennium. They were long on agricultural extension services and short on regulatory and marketing authority, cutting Hightower’s budget far beyond the three percent cuts suffered by most state agencies and reducing by two-thirds the number of exempt employees he was allowed. Many of the items cut were later restored in the House Appropriations Committee as a result of the efforts of Rep. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and the five other committee members from the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. But Saunders’s real thrill came in his efforts to undo the pesticide regulations announced by Hightower. Saunders cosponsored a bill by Sen. Buster Brown, R-Lake Jackson, which in its original form amounted to little more than a radical limitation of Hightower’s regulatory authority and counteracted most of Hightower’s pesticide orders. It was amended in the Senate and subjected to a series of compromises that resulted in a virtual codification of the pesticide rules issued by Hightower with the addition of several advisory committees. After waging a loud and destructive propaganda battle in support of the original Brown bill, the Chemical Council and When Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby talked, both Houses listened. most agribusiness interests agreed to the compromise legislation, as did representatives of Hightower. But, lo and behold, once the Brown bill reached the House, Saunders substituted his own bill \(written by Jon Fisher of the Chemical Council and several agricultural commodity diluted his authority by making him one member of a threemember board to regulate pesticide use in the state. \(The other two members were the Health Commissioner and the head of the Agricultural Extension Service; neither is an elected in the Senate, now wasn’t saying whether he would stick with the bill he had promised to go with or switch to Saunders’s substitute. Many believed Brown had accepted the Senate compromise knowing Saunders would introduce a substitute, for which Brown would offer Senate concurrence if it passed the House. At the same time, the Texas Chemical Council established a legislative precedent by claiming its agreement the agreement applied to the same legislation in the other house. In order to announce his substitute, calling it the true “compromise bill,” Saunders was introduced to the press by Speaker Gib Lewis the only time Lewis had played such a role the entire session. Lewis would not divulge his feelings on the bill but said he was merely there to hold Saunders’s hand. Later, when Lewis allowed Saunders’s bill to re-emerge two days after virtual defeat on a point of order, his “nonposition” was further illuminated. On May 20, Saunders introduced his bill on the floor of the House. Lewis normally requires a bill sponsor to have 82 assured votes before he allows bills to be introduced on the floor \(another way to keep debate and controversy in THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 Pho to by Ala n Pog ue