Blocked /N ONE OF the lobbying upsets of the session, a bill to rewrite the state’s securities regulation was stopped on the figurative one yard line of the legislative process. The bill sailed through the House so fast, as one senator put it, “it got airsick.” But two prominent exgovernment regulators organized opposition to it in the Senate, and brought in the North American Securities Administrators Association to testify against the change. Roy Mouer and Bill King, who both have served as the Texas Securities Commissioner, claimed the bill would bring “con artists” to. Texas to sell bad stocks to unsuspecting investors. Rep. Steve Wolens, D-Dallas, carried the bill in the House and Sen. Ray Farabee, D-Wichita Falls, pushed it in the Senate. But an odd alliance developed in the Senate to stop the bill. Conservatives such as Sen. John Traeger, DSeguin, teamed up with a handful of Senate liberals to oppose the measure. Sen. Bob Glasgow, D-Stephenvine, argued with a prosecutor’s zeal that Farabee was carrying a “horrible” securities deregulation bill. The bill passed on second reading May 13 by a vote of 18-11. But as long as those 11 votes held firm against the bill, Sen. Farabee was unable to get the necessary twothirds vote to bring it up on third reading. Farabee was still trying to find a way to salvage the bill in the last days of the session, but the clock ran out. SOCIAL CAUSE CALENDAR Notices of future events must reach the Observer at least three weeks before the event. JOAN BAEZ The Austin Peace and Justice Coalition will present Joan Baez, internationally renowned folksinger and nonviolence advocate, in a benefit concert, June 26, City Coliseum, Austin, 8 p.m., for the Humanitas International Human Rights information. BALLET FOLKLORICO The Ballet Folklorico Aztldn de Tejas will perform their production, Esplendor y Sonido, indigenous Indian dances and authentic, traditional dances of Mexico, June 29, Zilker Hillside Theatre in Austin, 8:45 p.m.; free. BENEFIT FOR CASA ROMERO The Austin Peace and Justice Coalition will have a benefit for Casa Oscar Romero, the Catholic Church-sponsored safe-house for Central American refugees in the Rio Grande Valley, June 30, Liberty Lunch, Austin, 8-p.m., featuring Dan Del Santo and the Professors of Pleasure and Balamil; tickets are $4 at the door. KID STUFF Art, music, magic, nature study storytimes will be offered in sunlit programs for children. Adventures to elude: Austin: Austin Public Library Call “Awesome Adventures” Texas Reading Club, storytimes, puppet shows, and free movies in Austin neighborhood libraries. Free. 4766090 for a schedule of the Children’s Day s ‘ Art Park, Wednesday mornings, June 6August 15, featuring an instrument petting zoo, kiddie kazoophony, art tent, magic shows, and Wornba the Fool. Nominal costs. Zachary Scott Theatre Center –Call Center’s Project InterAct production of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Nightingale, which will tour. Austin Recreation Centers throughout June and July. Free. San Antonio: The San Antonio Mu226-5544 for a brochure describing art, nature, issues of administrative justice in the legislature. And furthermore, he says, other state agencies such as the General Land Office and the Department of Agriculture, do hire lobbyists. A spokesman for the Land Office acknowledges that the office has used “consultants” on various issues having to do with the legislature, most recently on getting the Land Office through the sunset process. And Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower told the Fort Worth StarTelegram in April that he makes no bones about hiring former state Rep. Lynn Nabers to represent the department at a salary of $3,000 a month. Still, the rider prohibiting state funds to be used to influence legislation remains in the appropriations bill. Joe Longley, an Austin lawyer and a long-time critic of State Bar lobbying, says the problem is worse for the Bar than the average agency, because the Bar has such a disparate and contentious membership that it could not possibly speak with one voice. “You’ve got everything from far right-wingers to communists in the Bar,” he says. Longley argues that since membership in the Bar is mandatory there is no way to avoid potential conflicts between the Bar and its members on some issues. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the Bar decided that an effective compromise would be to allow the sections to lobby, because membership in the sections is voluntary and the money comes from fr9 /ely-paid extra dues. Austin lawyer Roy Mouer, who has been lobbying against the securities deregulation bill, says there are two things wrong with the current practice. For one, the public and the legislature usually do not make the distinction between the State Bar and the State Bar sections. “I’ve had several members of the legislature tell me the State Bar is sponsoring this bill,” he says. Longley says, “Legislators over there don’t make those subtle distinctions. If they see a guy in a three-piece pinstripe, and Arden shoes, and the salt-andpepper gray, they think that’s the State Bar.” Mouer’s second objection is that there is no democratic process within a section. He says he has been a member of the Section on Corporation Banking and Business Law for years and has now found himself working against the Section. “The Section’s name is being used to endorse a bill I think is anticonsumer and anti-investor,” he says. “And I resent it.” Supporters of the present Bar policy say there is plenty of opportunity for Bar members to express themselves and that it is important for the interests of the majority of lawyers to be represented in the legislature. But Lefty Morris, a lawyer with Morris, Craven and Sulak in Austin, says, “If a group of lawyers who do securities want to create their own group and come over there as Texas Securities Lawyers Association an independent entity and lobby, that’s fine.” But as far as the State Bar and its sections, “I’d get them out of the lobbying business,” he says, THE TEXAS OBSERVER 37
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