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which was a high priority of organized labor, to legislation that the Governor wanted, the welfare reform package. And he was “the author of the most important campaign finance bill to pass this session,” said Suzy Woodford of Common Cause, referring to the bill to place voluntary limits on individual contributions to judicial races. Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen also called it “a big win,” which he expects will force judicial candidates to comply or face bad publicity. “Our experience is that 75 percent of judges will comply and the 25 percent who do not will see an increase in public scrutiny of their finances,” he said. In an end-of-session “mini-filibuster,” Ellis also helped Carlos Truan and Gonzalo Barrientos knock off a half-dozen bad environmental bills, and he pressed “takings” bill sponsor Teel Bivins on the legislative intent of his bill. He forced Bivins to publicly distance himself from Take Back Texas Chairman Marshall Kuykendall who, along with Democratic Attorney General Dan Morales and Republican Ag Commissioner Rick Perry, had whipped up the anti-endangered-species sentiment in rural Central and East Texas during last year’s election campaign. Ellis also got high marks for his support of victims’ rights during the business lobby assault on the tort system. “He is smart and not afraid to stand up for what he knows is right,” one lawyer/lobbyist said of Ellis. “He stood up to the business lobby’s bullshit and made a bad tort reform bill better.” Carlos Truan In a quixotic mini-filibuster in the final day of the session, Truan, the dean and probably the bravest member of the Senate, may have actually killed more bad legislation this session than Ken Armbrister carried. Carlos Truan 8 JUNE 16, 1995 Gonzalo Barrientos House Bill 2394, sponsored by Representative Ed Kuempel, a Seguin Republican, and Senator Armbrister, a Victoria Democrat, would have prohibited the state from adopting any landfill regulations more strict than those the federal government has enacted. Truan kept it from the floor. Another happy casualty was Senate Bill 2941by Bill Ratliff, a Mount Pleasant Republican, and Representative Jerry Yost, a Longview Republicanan attempt to severely restrict the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission’s rulemaking authority. Clearly a work of the industry lobby, the bill would have limited the public’s right to contest cases before the state’s environmental regulating commission. Buster Brown was forced to pull down would have made it difficult for local governments to create or collaborate in the creation of habitat conservation plans. HB 2843, carried by Representative Ron Lewis, a Mauriceville Democrat and developers’ wet dream, and Brown, would have prevented the TNRCC from adopting any rule more stringent than a federal rule. Truan understood the implications of this bill, introduced while the Congress is gutting clean air and water acts, and talked long enough to keep it from coming to the floor. The bill would also have prevented the TNRCC from referring cases to the Attorney General. In one of many 29-2 votes, Truan was one of two dissenting votes protesting an education bill that he correctly perceived will do more harm than good to public education. Truan also served as chair of the Senate committee that salvaged the colonias bill. “I have only good things to say about Carlos Truan,” said environmental lawyer Mary Kelly. “He is so solid, he does what needs to be done and is always supporting public interest causes.” Gonzalo Barrientos The Travis County Democrat probably talked almost as long in the debate of Senate Bill 1, the education bill, as he did during his two filibusters against the developers’ assault on the Edwards Aquifer. His staff was completely up to speed on the education bill, providing him with amendment after amendment during 10 hours of floor debate. “It’s bad,” said one education lobbyist at the end of a day of floor debate. “Imagine what it would have been without his amendments.” Barrientos fought for teachers’ rights and against the radical right’s attempt, advanced at times by Senate Education Chair Bill Ratliff, to take the first steps toward the privatization of the state’s public education system. Barrientos also spoke on behalf of students who stand to lose the most when the 22:1 pupilteacher goes. In a valiant but futile attempt to defeat the most outrageously parochial anti-environmental bill passed this session, Barrientos conducted the session’s only fullfledged filibuster. The bill allows Gary Bradley’s 4,000-acre Circle C subdivision to remove itself from the city of Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, in order to escape the city’s environmental regulation of the ecologically sensitive Barton Creek Watershed and Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. Barrientos lost that fight, but his allnighter kept Senate committees from advancing other bad bills at a critical time in the session. Barrientos also collaborated with Truan in an end-of-session mini-filibuster against the takings bill. In his attempts to protect the public interest, Barrientos is overworked, said one public interest lobbyist. Another characterized him as being on the side of consumers “raising the questions and making sure these large manufacturers and insurance interests didn’t walk all over consumers’ rights. He represents his con