3 enator Walter Mengden will introduce about 125 bills.
ting the election in an off-year ballot, in a
separate election completely. Thus the
judicial candidates could be elected outside partisan politics and hopefully on a
more informed basis. Twenty or so states
handle judicial elections this way.
Redesign of home tax deferral which
would eliminate penalties for taking a
porperty tax deferral. (Co-sponsor with
House Disrtict 89
Rep. Senfronia Thompson's (D) office
staff reports quite a bit of legislation in
the works. Included are a number of bills
relating to higher education and a bill
dealing with abuse against spouses.
A bill concerning the performance of
minorities on professional exams, such as
law and pharmacy. This bill would authorize the Commissioner of Education to
conduct an in-depth study and then report the problems identified and recommended solutions.
A bill on executuve management inters programs. To encourage people to.
enter state government and to upgrade
public policy in Texas, this bill would
provide jobs in an intern program for 50
of the best graduate students in public
A bill removing Prairie View A&M University from the A & M system.
In the business area, a bill to establish
a state office of trade to encourage trade
between Texas and foreign countries.
(Rep. Thompson's special interest has
A measure that would remove automobiles that are three years or older from ad
A bill which doubles the money an individual can receive as judgement in tort
A spouse abuse bill, funding the Department of Human Resources to develop
a program dealing with wife abuse and
A bill making Martin Luther King's
birthday a state holiday.
House District 90
Rep. Brad Wright (R) proposes referendum power on tax increases at all levels
of government. "This is my primary legislative interest because I want people—tax-
payers-to have control over government
taxation and spending," Wright said. "I'm
also sponsoring a Constitutional Amendment that would give Texans initiative
and referendum power on more than tax-
A "small but important" bill will require sand and gravel trucks to cover their
loads when they are on the highways.
Another interest is a Presidential primary. "We've got one bill prepared and
are waiting to determine whether legislation will be necessary. We want to be sure
political parties can have presidential preference primaries in 1980."
House District 91
Rep. W. J. (Bill) Blythe (R) told Breakthrough "I will introduce a bill with Rep.
Caraway for stronger financial disclosure
on the part of the mayor and city council.
I think we're really getting down to the
nitty gritty as to what runs City Hall.
"Also, I'll carry a series of bills on
strengthening and providing protection
for public pension plans for state and city
employees-teachers, policemen, firemen,
etc. I hope we can prevent disasters such
as are happening in other states. Houston,
Dallas and San Antonio are actuarily unsound.
"I'll probably be carrying bills with
Caraway, concerning annexation limits on
cities that freely annex as of now.
"I'm co-sponsoring, with Gerald Hill
of Austin, a bill to delete discrimination
against sex and age in auto insurance rates.
"I'll probably carry a bill and Constitutional Amendment to set up a procedure by which county auditors can be investigated and reviewed as far as professional and ethical standards are concerned.
"I'm going to introduce a bill that will
require that when you re-evaluate a city,
you evaluate the city as a whole, not by
parts, or year by year."
House District 92
Rep. Frank Hartung (R) could not be
House District 95
Rep. R. E. (Gene) Green (D) has prefiled
26 bills, most having to do with auto insurance. He said, "Many of these bills are
a result of my work as Chairman of the
Automobile Insurance Interim Subcommittee. The report didn't go as far as I
thought it should have gone. I've been on
the insurance committee for six years,
three terms. A number of these bills are
left from what we didn't get done in '75."
He mentioned three of these as being
the most important:
House District 93
Rep. Milton E. Fox's (R) legislative interest at the beginning of the session will be
two bills that he introduced last session,
says an administrative assistant.
The oil field unitization bill would
help oil companies recover large amounts
of oil and gas under the ground which
cannot legally be tapped now because of
above-ground lease problems. Complex,
technical and significant, the bill could
authorize the recovery of over a billion
barrels of oil.
An election law change that would
prohibit people from running for state
and national office at the same time is
Fox's other interest.
House District 94
Rep. Don Henderson (R) has two main
pieces of legislation that he is concentrating on now;others will come later.
To implement the tax limitations part
of the Tax Relief Amendment that voters
passed in the November election. Henderson will presen^ a bill, similar to one he
introduced in the last session, which
would limit the total amount of taxes the
state could levy to no more than a percentage of the aggregate income of Texans.
That way, state expansion would be in
line with the state economy. As the economy grows, the state will have more
money for its own expansion. Likewise,
the state will have a safeguard against runaway growth.
Self-insurance of workers' compensation. All workers' compensation claims in
Texas must be insured through the insurance industry, with the exception of government agencies, which are authorized
to self-insure workers' compensation
claims. This bill will allow private industry to self-insure. The bill will not apply
to small companies, which will still go
through insurance companies.
Henderson is also interested in the issue of parklands around urban areas. He
believes that more money should be spent
for state parks and that available land a-
round Houston should be bought and put
A bill that would base a person's insurance rate on his or her driving record,
not age, sex, physical handicap. "This bill
would prohibit discrimination over what
people don't have control over," he said.
The "mandatory liability bill," requiring liability insurance for all registered vehicles.
A bill allowing group auto insurance to
House District 96
Rep. Tony Polumbo's (D) office staff said
that Rep. Polumbo would "rather not
make a statement concerning any legislation right now."
House District 97
Rep. Ralph Wallace (R) could not be
House District 98
Rep. Henry Allee (D) has prefiled four
H.B. 11, to require all motorcyclists to
wear a motorcycle helmet. Rep. Allee's
fact sheet on motorcycle fatalities, based
on Texas Department of Public Safety
figures, points out that deaths from motorcycle accidents have increased more
than 50 percent since the Mandatory Safety Helmet Law was repealed in August,
H.B. 12, relating to an additional standard for determining death. His primary
interest is this "definition of death" bill,
his office in Austin said. He's especially
concerned about this because he believes
a change in the law here could help dying
people and relieve mental anguish for parents and families in certain cases. This
bill would not eliminate the "cardi-vascu-
lar" criteria of defining death; it would
merely provide an additional and nonexclusive standard of death to be used only when advanced machines make the
present common law standard unsuitable.
He thinks the Texas legislature should
update the law to make a distinction between spontaneous functions and artificially produced respiratory and circulatory
functions and should implement "brain
death" legislation as a means for determining when death occurs.
H.B. 13, requiring title certification
for construction equipment of certain
H.B. 14, relating to the duty of landlord and tenant to maintain a residential
rental premise in a fit and habitable con-
dition-a bill "a little more fair to the
House District 99
Rep. Jim Clark (D) could not be reached.
House District 100
Rep. Bill Caraway (D) will co-sponsor
two bills, according to aide Ed Martin.
The first will introduce single member
districts for city councilmen, which is still
in the drafting stages. The second bill to
be co-sponsored will address the problem
of city departments that make contracts
with relatives of city officials, Martin said.
"Caraway wants to introduce a
bill that will upgrade the quality of teaching in colleges," Martin said.
Caraway also wants to prohibit personal income tax. "He doesn't feel that
working-class people should have any
more money taken out of their salaries."
"We have more bills that will be developed over the next few weeks, but another important one is a bill that makes
sure Clear Lake City and other areas in
southeast Houston will be de-annexed,"
Senate District 11
Senator Chet Brooks (D) has been in the
State Senate since 1966; prior to that he
served in the House of Representatives
from 1962 to 1966. He is Chairman for
the Committee on Human Resources, a
member of the Senate Finance Committee and the State Affairs Committee.
According to aide Steve Renfro, the
Senator will primarily be concerned with
health care and social services. They will
be trying for a major revision of the
Nurse Practice Act. which according t,o
Renfro, is "an old ^ct that was written
early in the century and has been patch-
worked since then. It is terribly antiquated." Brooks tried to get this bill through
the last session, but failed. According to
Renfro, Brooks will be meeting with the
Texas Medical Association and the Texas
Health Association and some of the nurse
specialty groups. "The new bill will define the practice of nursing in a different
way and will give the board of nurses a
better way to monitor the profession. Also," Renfro said, "it will provide different and stricter tests for out-of-state
Brooks will be studying nursing home
conditions and will be pushing for a
change in the nursing home laws. He also
hopes to pass a bill on Alternate Care,
which involves meals-on-wheels, day care
and housekeeping service, designed to reduce costs and keep the patient at home,
Renfro said. This bill is being introduced
for the first time, he added.
About 40 states have passed bills on
generic drug substitution, which means
that unless a physician otherwise indicates on a prescription, the pharmacist
can substitute a less expensive version of
the same drug (e.g. another label). Brooks
will be strongly pushing for a bill like this
"Right now," Renfro said, "clinical
labs can hire a high school dropout who
will perform critical tests on patients
without the proper qualifications. We
want to pass a licensing act that provides
criteria for these essential employees."
Brooks will be trying a different version of his sex offender bill which was
not passed at last year's session. Right
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DECEMBER/JANUARY 1979 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH 23