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NOW IT ENDED The Worst Session in Memory BY DAVE DENISON THE SESSION ENDED with progressive activists grumbling about the legislature being hopelessly in the grip of the business lobby. This was hardly a new complaint about the Texas Legislature, but it seemed that with an ill-humored and spiteful Republican governor in power the special interests weren’t just renting the place they owned it. True reform was understood to be doomed from the start. This would be a time to stave off the worst impulses of the Republicans and the conservative Democrats. By the end of 140 days, liberals were trying to remember if they had ever seen such a disheartening session. It was June of 1979. Texas Observer editor Jim Hightower looked back on the just completed 66th session and called it “the worst session in memory.” Hightower \(who was soon to jump into a race for the Railroad Commisguishing mark of the session was the flight of the 12 “Killer Bee” Senators who, by shutting down the Senate for four-and-a-half days, prevented at least four-and-a-half days’ worth of damage from being done. “Corporate lobbyists were more greedy and brazen than they have been in years,” Hightower wrote, “delivering dozens of self-enriching bills for members to sponsor . . . operating right out of the offices of some committee chairmen, signaling to members from the galleries to tell them how 18 JUNE 16, 1989 Illustrations by Richard Bartholomew