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behalf of Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. Although the Attorney General’s Office hadn’t yet analyzed the effects of the amendments, the reality is that amendments will, no doubt, dilute the effects of the bill. Committee Chair Carlos Truan opened the May 17 hearing talking about the recent editorial attention and saying he had convinced Dan Morales to appear before the committee to answer a few questions. Morales, who had not previously appeared in committee hearings considering the legislation, showed up a little late a few minutes later and took a seat at the hearing table in front of the committee, which included at various times Senators Rosson, Sibley, Armbrister, Patterson, Cain, Gallegos, Lucio and Ratliff, as well as Senate sponsor Zaffirini. Truan first made Morales state in several different ways that he supported the bill in its current form, including the 21 amendments questioned in the El Paso editorial. The amendments were largely inconsequential, making the language of the bill a little clearer and more consistent throughout. Morales smiled, bobbed and weaved his way through a number of senatorial inquiries. The senators seemed particularly aggravated by the Herald Post editorial targeting Rosson and the apparent role played by AG press secretary Ron Dusek, a former Austin bureau chief for the El Paso Times, and his staff in feeding this and other editorials. “At no point has any member of our agency been critical of any member of the Legislature,” Morales told the committee. Morales insisted that Dusek and his staff were merely returning media phone calls and not initiating press contact. At this point, Rosson took him on. She said she’d spoken with the Herald Post editors, who told her the contact had been initiated by the AG’s office. In a quiet, deliberate voice, Rosson said, “[It was] a call generated by your agency in an attempt to pressure this committee. They were not called. You called them. Period. Deal with it.” Morales squirmed in his seat like a schoolboy. Then Senator Ken Armbrister appeared. Never a big proponent of checks and balances or of the ability of administrative agencies to speak directly to the public, Armbrister demanded Dusek’s head on a platter. “Who is this guy?” Armbrister asked Morales. “Who is Ron Dusek? Where is he? Who is he? Is he here?” Morales seemed uncertain and halfturned his head to look around the room. the people working up here,” Armbrister told Morales. “I want him up here or I want him subpoenaed.” Dusek, of course, was in the room and stepped forward to join Morales at the front table. He stuck to his story that the El Paso paper and other dailies had initiated the contact, which Rosson refused to buy. He said they took what he told them and “editorialized.” There were more thrusts from the committee, and a few parries by Morales and Dusek; then it was over. The senators had their pound of flesh. The committee passed the bill on to the Senate, where it was a better than even bet that it would die. It had begun to scare real estate interests. Sen. Lucio was talking about amending it on the floor so that colonia developers would not be responsible for public health nuisances in colonias they own. Then, shortly after lunch on a day near the end of the session, Bullock called up the bill, Zaffirini moved it, the Senate passed it with barely a twitch, and it was over. Some say Zaffirini got the bill passed in return for letting the waiting period for women to get back on welfare be increased from three to five years. That can’t be confirmed. A bad bill became a less bad bill with, perhaps, some redeeming qualities. And 85,000 Texas colonia residents continue to wait for running water, and 150,000 wait for safe wastewater service. And the sun continues to beat down. POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE ON TO 1998. The first shots in the 1998 Democratic primary for governor may have been fired on June 1-2 when state Comptroller John Sharp and Land Commissioner Garry Mauro addressed the 35th convention of the Texas AFL-CIO in Austin. Sharp gave a populist speech that called upon the Democratic Party to return its focus to “the three things that matter most: working families, working families and working families,” while Mauro, a member of the Texas State Employees Union, affirmed the role of labor unions in protecting the interests of working people. He reminded the convention that he was the only state elected official to attend a union rally in April. As manager of the Clinton-Gore reelection effort, he proposed to return the Democratic Party to the union halls and the courthouses as he seeks to restore grassroots politics. Another possible contender, Attorney General Dan Morales, whose office has potential impact on workplace issues in its enforcement of antitrust and consumer protection statutes, chose to use his time to tell the union activists about his efforts in the recently concluded legislative session to restrict the filing of lawsuits by prison in mates, streamline death penalty appeals and toughen juvenile justice reforms. ORGANIZING was the theme at the AFL-CIO’s 35th convention and Robert Wages, president of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, and Richard Trumka, president of the United Mine Workers, called for unions to change their political strategies to defend the labor movement from attacks from corporations and right-wing Congressional leaders. OCAW, which has 95,000 members, including 15,000 in Texas, has been leading the effort to organize Labor Party Advocates, a political movement to address working-class issues and possibly to form an alternative to the Democratic Party. It already has organized chapters in Dallas and San Antonio and is active in Port Arthur and Houston. Wages, 46, and Trumka, 45, are among a younger generation of union presidents who have been pushing for a change in leadership of the AFL-CIO, the national labor federation that claims 16 million members, including 200,000 in Texas. They recently pushed 73-year-old AFLCIO President Lane Kirkland to retire and hope to replace him with John Sweeny, president of the Service Employees International Union, at the federation’s national convention in New York in October. PARTY LINES. Republicans have boldly set out to capture control of both the House and the Senate. The GOP, which is 14 short of a majority in the 150-member House, is expected to challenge at least two dozen Democratic incumbents, including House Speaker Pete Laney of Hale Center, State Affairs Committee Chairman Curtis Seidlits of Sherman and Calendars Committee Chairman Mark Stiles of Beaumont. Doyle Willis, D-Fort Worth, has announced plans to retire after 28 years in the House. His central Fort Worth district should remain in Democratic hands. Democrats hope to pick up the western Travis County seat given up by Rep. Susan Combs, R-Austin, who announced she would not seek a third term after passing legislation to weaken environmental regulations, especially in Austin. Kirk Ingels, county coordinator of the Capital City Christian Coalition, announced he would seek the GOP nomination for Combs’ seat. 14 JUNE 16, 1995