New Texas Out; Newspeak In SHORTLY AFTER noon on January 17, George W. Bush put his left hand on Sam Houston’s Bible, raised his right hand and consigned the New Texas to history. In its place, the Republican looked forward to the era of the New Accountability, four years during which he will promote states’ rights to go their own way from federal mandates; more local authority for schools and communities \(to replace centralized bureaucracy with diffused bureauunless of course one has a ballpark that needs more one’s actions, \(unless of course one is a corBush got the attention of the crowd on the Capitol’s South Lawn when he pledged his devotion to the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the hoary one that gives the states all powers not specifically granted to the federal government; that amendment has been used over the years to justify slavery, segregation, the disparity of educational, economic and political opportunity among classes in the United States and the resistance of local authorities to federally mandated programs. But that is reading more into the history of the 10th Amendment than Bush manifested. He just thinks the state ought to be left to its own affairs. Other applause lines included his renunciation of collective guilt in favor of individual responsibility, which is why, in his head, more kids need to be locked up and juveniles as young as 16 should face the death penalty. “Every piece of legislation that crosses my desk will be judged by whether it keeps families together, safe and strong,” he promised. He didn’t mention orphanages for children of welfare recipients. “If we are to save a generation of young people, our juvenile and criminal . laws must hold people responsible for what they do, he said. “Discipline and love go hand in hand.” T0 GET PAST HIS DESK, bills also had better be good for business. “There are many ways for a business to fail. We must not allow one of them to be a frivolous lawsuit…. Texas must end the junk lawsuits that clog our courts and threaten our producers. Doing so will expand our job base so that anyone who wants a job can find one.” After an election in which including minorities, protecting the environment and looking out for the disadvantaged was derided as politically correct, nobody can accuse the Republicans of being unable to count, least of all Lieut. Gov . Bob Bullock, who was elected as a Democrat but who has made a point of setting up a bipartisan Senate. He preceded Bush in taking the oath of office and as he starts his second term with more legislative authority than the governor, he pledged cooperation but reminded the new governor on the block: “We are compassionate and we’re caring. Our vision is still clear and our hearts are still in the right place….” He knows; he had his heart overhauled in the interim. “All of us know the problems. Schools that fall short in education, adult and juvenile crime in our communities, an unacceptable welfare system, out-dated civil justice laws and a state government that all too often must govern on a crisis-to-crisis basis. Reforming and changing these major functions should be our top priority. And these goals can be accomplished by a leadership and Legislature that work without personal or political rhetoricand that work in a bipartisan ‘effort, Governor Bush, with no agenda but a Texas agenda of what’s best for Texas.” During his first term, Bullock said, “We rewrote the Texas Penal Code and built badly needed prisons. We increased spending by billions of dollars on public education, and in return, we demanded that schools be held accountable to students and the people and the parents. Court challenges to our mental health and mental retardation services and our criminal justice system came to an end. Now, for the first time in a generation, Governor Bush, we have the chance to save a generation of young Texans, and a generation after that. He told of meeting a veteran, streetwise police officer who told him the problems of juvenile crime were so great that he had all but given up on the current generation to concentrate on the next one. “I will not give up on a generation of young Texans, and neither should you,” Bullock told Bush. AWEEK EARLIER, on the opening day of the 74th Legislature, Bullock said he expected the Senate to get off to a quick start with budget hearings and other legislative initiatives that had been studied in the interim. “I don’t see anything but cooperation in the Texas Senate. There will be no gridlock,” he said. Bullock, who had named a Nominations Committee with a Republican chair and majority, said he expected “a few” Richards appointees to be busted by the Senate. “I don’t think I’d be talking out of school to say I’ve been informed by the new administration that there is not going to be any wholesale attempt to try to recall or … as the term is used in the Senate, “bust” [Richards appointees],” Bullock said. “There will be a few I guess, but I’m not privy to what all that might be. … I’ve never seen a governor yet that didn’t have a few key appointments that they wanted and from that point of view are entitled to. It is extremely hard for a governor to get their input into agencies without a representative on that board or commission.” Normally, because of the staggered appointments schedule, governors do not gain control of boards or commissions until the second year of their administration, but approximately 600 of Richards’ appointees since the last regular session in 1993 must be confirmed by the Senate. One of the endangered appointees is Peggy Sue Garner, named to a six-year term on the Natural Resources Conservation Commission in August 1993. With the expiration of Pam Reed’s term this August, that would give Bush appointees a majority on the board that regulates environmental affairs. Sarah Goodfriend, who was named in August 1993 to a six-year term on the Public Utility Commission, also faces an uphill fight. Bullock said he hoped the Legislature would address the major functions of Texas government, with reforms of the public schools, health and welfare, the penal code and the family code. “I don’t see any [wide disagreement with Bush],” Bullock said. He is not entertaining talk about switching parties. “Let me tell you how I look at the Texas Senate: There isn’t any Republicans or Democrats. That’s for Bob Slagle and Tom Pauken \(the state Democratic and Republiout on that floor, when I look at one of them, I don’t say I recognize Republican John Leedom, or I recognize Democrat John Montford. I look at them as Texans that I have reason to believe, and I have every reason to back me up, that these people have come down here to work and they are going to work together…. I do not believe that party politics have any place on the floor of the Texas Senate on the major issues of the day.” THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, in its Majority Party Day on January 10, cele brated the fact that it held onto at least nominal majorities in the House and Senate as well as several statewide elected positions. Ann Richards’ introduction of Vice President Al Gore became something of a farewell to the troops when the departing governor, who would spend Inauguration Day on the West Coast, told more than 1,000 Democrats, “As I look out into this audience I see so many THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 int
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