Newspaper clipping headlined, "The Clements Session," June 13, 1981
Newspaper clipping headlined, "The Clements Session," June 13, 1981. An unsigned editorial from the Dallas Times Herald with recommendations for the special session of the Texas Legislature called by Governor William P. Clements, Jr. Issues include repealing the state property tax code, passage of a state Medical Practices act, and legislative redistricting.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Clements, William P., 1917-2011Texas. Legislature
Election districtsProperty tax
"Texas Governor Term 1, 1979-1982"
Dallas Times Herald
Texas A&M University
Cushing Memorial Library and Archives
"Governor William P. Clements, Jr. Official State Papers, 1st Term, 1979-1983"
General Counsel | 1st term
Texas State library and archives commission
Clements Texas Papers
Dallas Times Herald LEE J. GUITTAR Chairman of the Board THOMAS R. McCARTIN Publisher KENNETH P. JOHNSON WILL D. JARRETT JON T. SENDERLING Editor Managing Editor Editorial Page Director 30—A • Saturday, June 13, 1981 The Clements session Gov. William P. Clements Jr. acted wisely, we believe, in limiting to five the number of issues to be considered by the Texas Legislature in a special session beginning July 13. Four of the issues are in what might be termed the "must" category, and foremost among them is congressional redistricting. The other pressing issues to be discussed are repeal of the state property tax, revision of the state property tax code and passage of a Medical Practices Act. The fifth topic listed in the governor's "call" for the session is the cre- ation of a Texas water trust fund, a pet project of House Speaker Billy Clayton. That is also something of an urgent matter for debate, since Texas must decide soon what it is going to do to ensure an adequate water supply for the future. The governor said he might consider add- ing other subjects to the agenda, including a proposal designed to encourage gasohol produc- tion. If he does expand the call, we think he also should consider including the repeal of an em- barrassing statute that forbids the use of state money to educate the children of illegal aliens. We urge the legislature to approach the issues in a responsible, statesmanlike manner so the governor will not have to call additional, costly special sessions. At the same time, we urge the governor to abstain from making parti- san demands on the legislature, particularly re- garding the highly volatile issue of redistricting. After much infighting during the regular 140-day session that ended June 1, the House and Senate were able to agree on plans for legis- lative redistricting. But they failed to agree on a redistricting plan for the Texas delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, primarily be- cause of a dispute over lines in Dallas County. The legislators must produce an acceptable congressional redistricting plan or face the em- barrassment of having a federal court do the job. Gov. Clements has said he will veto any plan that does not create a "minority" district in Dallas County. That may sound good, but any- one who is active in politics knows that what Clements and his fellow Republicans have in mind is "packing" as many blacks and Hispanics as possible into one congressional district in Dal- las County so that surrounding districts will be more Republican in makeup. The GOP thrust is directed at getting rid of Democratic Rep. Jim Mattox by shifting blacks and browns from his 5th District into Democratic Rep. Martin Frost's adjoining 24th District. There is much to be said for creating a district in Dallas County that would permit a black or an Hispanic to win a congressional seat. But to do it for reasons of politics rather than any genuine concern about equal representation of minorities raises some questions, not the least of which is whether minorities would emerge with a greater voice than they had before. We would hope that partisanship would be put aside during the session and that new districts be drawn that are as compact as possible and that retain broad, traditional communities of interest. A fair plan would create three congression- al districts within Dallas County, since the coun- ty has the population to support them. The House and Senate insisted on producing plans during the regular session that would permit outside congressmen to reach into the county to flesh out their districts. That anachronistic prac- tice must cease if urban counties are to achieve their fair share of representation in Washington. On the other issues, the Legislature would be well advised to overcome selfish-interest dis- putes among medical groups and to pass a new Texas Medical Practice Act. The old statute, which sets licensing standards for physicians, will expire on Sept. 1. • We believe the Legislature should approve a constitutional amendment repealing the state's 10-cent property tax. In 1979, the Legislature rendered the tax uncollectable by reducing it to .0001 cents on $100 of assessed valuation. But Midwestern University, riled at a loss of college construction funds produced by the tax, filed a suit to declare that action unconstitutional. The Legislature also should approve ad- justments to the property tax reform code, ad- justments that got bogged down in the final days of the regular session. Among them is a provision that would permit the new county ap- praisal districts to postpone, for one year, having to produce updated property valuation rolls and would allow a three-year phase-in for large metropolitan counties. The provisions of the pre- sent law could put an intolerable squeeze on some counties, including Dallas.