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substitute the Equity Center’s funding principles and Kent Grusendorf took to the back mike to debate Stiles. “You’ve skewed the numbers, the House is fooled again!” Stiles shouted into the mike. Stiles had obtained a letter which Grusendorf had written to the Texas Education Agency, requesting that figures for the second-year funding of the Equity-Center plan be calculated into the first-year column of the printout \(or “impact statement” that individual members use to calculate the effect of funding plans on their conservative wing of the House. As a gallery filled with teachers and public school administrators pored over printouts and legislative “face books” and followed the debate, a motion to table Stiles’s substitute amendment failed 89-55. The vote had been anticipated less than half an hour earlier when a funding amendment offered by Alan Schoolcraft was tabled by a 77-69 motion. Thotigh Lewis passed on the vote, Glossbrenner’s vote against tabling the Stiles amendment was a signal that the Speaker was not averse to the House, voting its will. With the 89-vote margin, and the Speaker’s realization that there was a consensus to get a bill out, the conservative factions associated with Schoolcraft, Grusendorf, and appropriations Chair Jim Rudd, could see the handwriting on the vote board-particularly when the Speaker began to vote. The vote on final passage was an overwhelming 106-37. “We won a couple,” Houston Republican Charlie Hartland said to a small group at the back of the chamber. Some 30 amendments had been approved, but only a few, according to Colbert, really hurt. As the Observer goes to press, the bill is being heard by a conference committee which is not unfriendly to the equity standard in the bill. Who gets the credit? Other than the obvious floor leaders and Caucus-of-15, it was the Texas Interfaith Network, according to Rep. Nick Perez Donna Blevins, of the Equity Center. The Interfaith Network, a statewide organization of grass-roots church-based activists, has been working on education for months, anticipatins, it was Interfaith Network members contacting their representatives that made a significant difference. “It would never have happened without them,” Blevins said. A spokesperson for the Interfaith Network said that Nick Perez, \(who has never been too Linebarger, and Ernie Glossbrenner were largely responsible for the House passage of the bill. “And with Mark Stiles, who brought LOUIS DUBOSE the moderate Democrats along with him.” Perez seemed pleased but he was something less than arrogant. “Listen, two weeks ago I didn’t know a thing about school finance,” he told a reporter. While he’s not exactly out there talking sum cert and PDI with Paul Colbert, on education and floor leadership, Nick Perez has come a long way. “It’s time to send this over to the Governor,” Stiles said on the day after the bill passed the House. Assuming that the bill makes it through the conference committee intact, and then through the appropriations process, the decision will rest with Bill Clements. Bush and the Colonias H EPATITIS A is a fairly simple disease to understand, and, at least in theory, easy enough to prevent. In graphic terms, the virus is found in feces and is transmitted when a hand isn’t washed properly or when water is contaminated. The virus thrives where sanitary conditions are primitive and water goes untreated. Containing hepatitis A and other preventable diseases in a technologically advanced society shouldn’t be all that complicated. The causes, poor sanitation and contaminated water, are known. Government has the tools at its disposal to solve this pressing public-health problem. Sdfe water and proper sewage disposal are the least citizens should expect. Yet in 1989, El Paso County, population 600,000, reported 250 cases of hepatitis A. According to an El Paso City/County Health District study, the county recorded 35 to 40 cases of hepatitis A per 100,000 residents from 1978 to 1984. In the same period, the national average held steady at about 10 cases per 100,000. It is widely accepted that the increasing rates of diseases preventable diseases like hepatitis A are directly related to the unsanitary conditions in colonias, underdeveloped and often unincorporated residential subdivisions scattered along the TexasMexico border. But for many who live in the colonias, securing basic services has proved an’ elusive goal. In recent months, the Bush administration has continued to steadfastly oppose appropriating more and badly needed federal dollars for colonia water and sewage projects. Presi dent Bush did not earmark any federal assistance money for the colonias in his January budget recommendatioris to Congress. Dede Spitznagel, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said in the last 15 years $30 million in federal grants and loans for water projects has been made available to colonia and other south Texas residents. This year, she said, $5.5 million in loans has been available and to date only one loan application for $2.5 million has been received. “We are compassionate to their needs,” Spitznagel said. “It’s something that’s being looked at right now. There are funds that are available that have not been sought after.” But the omission of additional colonias funding was striking for a president, an “adopted” Texan, who has cultivated an image as a Grand Old Party patriot with a heart. Here THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 , 4. 0..4