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Kim Brimer, Chris Harris, Anna Mowrey, and Kent Grusendorf of Tarrant County; and Bill Hammond, Ken Marchant, and Tony Goolsby of Dallas, cast votes that will penalize schools either in or near the districts they represent. \(Terral Smith, a progressive Republican from Austin, also voted to sustain the veto. But many suspect that much of Smith’s recent behavior can be explained by his interest in appointment to the position as director of the Lower Colorado Valley River Authority a hometown job that pays more DESPITE THE Governor’s protestations to the contrary, the education bill he vetoed was not “the liberals’ solution” to the problem. The bill’s funding mechanism was sufficiently compromised that groups such as the Texas Interfaith Network, a nonpartisan statewide organization whose members have been working on this issue for months before the first of the three education special sessions began, had withdrawn from the process. It was the Interfaith Network that had resurrected the bill when it was considered dead during the second education session. This time around they approached it differently. “We were and are supporting the Glossbrenner Bill Glossbrenner One, ” Sister Christine Stephens, the lead organizer for Valley Interfaith, said. But, according to Stephens, changes in the funding principles of the current bill Glossbrenner Three, by our count actually lowered the standard of equity to about the 85th percentile, meaning that poor districts would only be guaranteed funding up to the level of the district at the 85th percentile. “We didn’t work against it,” Stephens said, “but we didn’t work for it.” Also abandoning the bill was the Equity Center, an education advocacy group whose membership includes many of the state’s property-poor school districts. “We are neutral,” said Donna Blevins, of the center. It had been the Equity Center, working with Manchaca Rep. Libby Linebarger, that had drafted the bill a bill considered to be a compromise a grade or two below the MALDEFsponsored bill that died when the session began. But once the “95-95” funding principles were adjusted, the principles that would provide 95 percent of the state’s children access to the same level of wealth as the school district at the 95th percentile \(the school at the 95th percentile would have the Equity Center withdrew its support. As the vote count turned out, it is not likely that even the combined efforts of the Interfaith Network and the Equity Center could have brought about an override. But for two progressive groups whose support had been critical to the passage of Senate Bill 1 in its earlier versions to withdraw from the process suggests that too many changes had been made in the bill. What might have made a difference were the votes of the House committee chairs, who serve at the pleasure of the Speaker. As Austin American-Statesman columnist Dave McNeely wrote, 10 of Speaker Gib Lewis’s committee chairs voted against him. Lame ducks Jim McWilliams, a Democrat from Hallsville; and Republicans Bill Hammond of Dallas; Terral Smith of Austin; and Brad Wright of Houston might not have been so easy for the Speaker to control. But six committee chairs who plan to serve in the next session also voted against Lewis. Ed Kuempel of Seguin, George Pierce of San Antonio, Buzz Robnett of Lubbock, and Ashley Smith of Houston -voted to sustain the veto, as did Democrats Robert Saunders of LaGrange and Tom Uher of Bay City. “There is no way Lewis is going to let Uher do VIC HINTERLANG Eddie Cavazos redistricting now,” one House staffer said after Uher’s vote to sustain. And as has happened at the end of previous regular and special sessions, when committee chairs have crossed the Speaker on critical votes, Lewis was asked at a press conference whether he would take voting records into consideration when assigning committee chairmanships next session. And as he has done in the past, Lewis reiterated his support of bipartisan government. “He is fair,” Glossbrenner said of Lewis. “He has a vision that extends beyond partisan politics, that considers the balance of representation from different regions of the state. Some consider that a strength and some consider it a weakness.” \(Standing in the lobby and listening to Terral Smith stand before a TV camera and say that once education finance became a test of the will of the Speaker and the will of the Governor, Lewis’s bipartisan virtue seemed a vice. But not so vicious as Smith’s ambiIn a sense, it was Lewis who lost the most in the veto fight, because the past three sessions, despite the failure to pass a bill, might have been Gib Lewis’s finest \(and probably thing, beginning by collaborating with Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby in an attempt to impose a modified version of the Governor’s education task force on the Senate and House. When that failed, Lewis reverted to the will of a House, which he found divided. When he was receptive to a pitch made by a delegation of representatives who persuaded him to give the bill a second chance. And as it became obvious that SB 1/HB 1 enjoyed more support than any other legislation working its way through the House, Lewis defended it. “Because there is more consensus for that bill than any other in the House:” he said, at a press conference. And even as he met with the press after the House failed to override, Lewis maintained that SB 1 was the bill that he would prefer to advance into a sixth special session. And that he anticipated that the bill would be carried by education committee chair Ernie Glossbrenner, rather than sending a bill through another committee in an attempt to move things off center. Now, if all of this is just making the best of a bad situation, then Lewis has made the very best of it, working to keep the process moving, meeting regularly with the press, and maintaining a grasp of the content of the bill and the politics involved in getting it out. And all the while, somehow maintaining \(at good cheer. Across the rotunda, the Lieutenant Governor’s job has been far easier. The standard procedure in the Senate has been to meet, file and pass a bill, and then wait on the House. So it remains for Lewis to find a route around an obstructionist Governor. AND THOUGH LEWIS has resolved to keep school finance out of the hands of a court-appointed master, he might discover that when the House failed to override the Governor’s veto, they foreclosed on the legislative solution. Ever since District Judge Scott McCown held his May 2 status hearing, the precise date of the final legislative deadline has been a topic of considerable debate. Is it June 1, June 25, or sometime between June 25 and September 1? On May 25, Assistant Attorney General Kevin O’Hanlon sent the Speaker a letter which explained 0 ‘ Hanlon ‘ s interpretation