SAN ANTONIO ExpR; Death of initiative bill assures special session By DICK MERKEL Chief, Express-News Capitol Bureau AUSTIN — The House bought a return trip ticket for a special session of the Legislature Friday night when it refused, for the second time, to pass a voter initiative and referendum proposal. Earlier in the day, Gov. Bill Clements said he was "set in concrete" to call a special session if some sort of initiative and referendum proposal wasn't passed Tax relief measure OK'd by committee By DAVID GUARINO Express Capitol Bureau AUSTIN — The final form of legislation designed to implement the Tax Relief Amendment approved by the voters last year was voted out of a joint House-Senate conference committee 7-1 Friday. The Bill, HB1060, now goes back to both houses for a vote of acceptance before going on the Gov. Bill Clements for his consideration. Both houses of the Legislature are , ex"pected to grant swift approval to the report. The bill has six major parts: • Sections 1 and 2 would allow farmers, ranchers and timber producers to apply to county tax assessors to have their land assessed on its productive value rather than market value. • The new valuation is set to go into effect this year, unless local officials act to hold onto the old valuation system for another year, in order to get their tax roles in order. • Section 3 would exempt intangible property (certain types of stocks and bonds) from taxation. • Section 4 would exempt all automobiles not used in business and most personal household goods from property taxes. • Section 5 would allow homeowners to claim a homestead exemption of the first $5,000 value of their houses. A similar exemption on the first $10,000 of value would be available to the handicapped and those over 65 years of age. Implementation of the tax exemptions would be on a local option basis. • Section 6 Would make state funds available to local school districts to offset tax losses caused by passage of the bill. The amount of funds available for the school districts hinges on whether or not the school finance bill, SB350, passes the Legislature, explained Rep. Bob Davis, R-Irving, chairman of the committee. If it does. HB1060 would mandate $200 million for losses to local school districts caused by reductions in local fund assignments, the school districts' share of the cost of running the public schools, he'said. If the Senate bill does not pass, $384 million would be available for local school districts. Davis said. The difference results from the Senate Finance Committee's decision to detatch the Property Tax Relief Fund from HB1060 and add it. to the school finance bill. before the current session ends at midnight. Immediately after the House voted not to reconsider House Joint Resolution 3, a spokesman for Clements said the governor would call a special session and as many special sessions as needed to put the issue before the voters. Jim Kaster, former state representative and now a top Clements aide, said he would advise the governor to call a special session in November, • December, or January. "In event the Legislature fails to pass initiative and referendum at that time, it will be my recommendation a second session be called in April and, if that doesn't work, another session in September." Kaster said he had picked those months because they fall, in order, just before the candidates' filing deadline in February, the primary elections in May, and the general elections in November. The Clements adviser said special sessions at these times would owe voters and ample opportunity to look at their elected representatives and decide just what they want to do. The vote Friday night was to reconsider HJR3, which had been defeated by the House 83-34 last Monday. In order to reconsider, the members would have had to give the measure a two-thirds vote, which they failed to do, with 79 for and 59 against. The vote came after the measure's See INITIATIVE, Page 11A San Antonio EXPRESS-NEWS— Saturday May 26, 1979 Page 11-A INITIATIVE Continued from Page IA author, Rep, Carlyle Smith, D-Grand Prairie, read a letter he had received from Clements. In the letter, Clements re-stated his vow. "We will be having a special session of the Legislature because I am firmly committed to giving the people of Texas the opportunity to vote on this issue." Clements' letter said the special session would be devoted entirely to the initiative and referendum issue. This tended to dispel rumors Clements would open up any special qession call to the issues of a split presidential primary bill and a wiretap bill, both of which have also been killed for this session. The vote Friday night also laid to rest persistent reports a compromise had been reached with members of the House Mexican-American Caucus to support legislation expanding bilingual education in exchange for their votes on initiative and referendum. In the final vote, the 20 caucus members were almost solid in their opposition to the measure. Two of the exceptions were Reps. Paul Elizondo and Frank Madla, San Antonio Democrats, who voted to consider HJR3. Reps. Matt Garcia, Joe I. Hernandez and Frank Tejeda all voted against. The bilingual education bill, which has already passed the Senate, was due a vote late Friday night as House Speaker Bill Clayton was keeping to his promise to work members until midnight in an effort to clear up as many bills as possible. In addition to the Bexar County votes on HJR3 already listed, the balance of the county's House delegation voted as follows: Against — Reps. Ron Bird and Lou Nelle Sutton. For — Reps. Al Brown, Don Cartwright, James Nowlin, George Pierce and Don Rains. The House rejected Smith's final contention that he had been told by several Senators HJR3 had a good chance of passing in the waning hours of the current session.