New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 13, 1991, New Braunfels, Texas
Page SAHerald-Ze/funy, New Braunfels, Texas
Wednesday, February 13, 1991
Justice calling for fundamental reform
AUSTIN (AP) — Judges and lawyers can make some improvements in the judicial system, but major reforms arc needed that only can be initiated by the Legislature, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Phillips said.
In his State of the Judiciary address Tuesday to lawmakers, Phillips advocated changing the way judges arc selected, full state funding for Texas courts, and ethics reform legislation setting high standards forjudges.
“We need fundamental reform on many fronts before our state can realize its full potential of providing available, affordable and timely justice for all,” Phillips said.
He said the courts and State Bar of Texas would do their part, including providing services to the poor. But the “most fundamental reforms,” including changing the way judges are selected, are the Legislature’s responsibility, Phillips said.
“Only you can initiate the procedure to replace an electoral system that is too partisan, too expensive, and possibly unlawful with a modem system of judicial selection that enhances accountability, independence and competence,” Phillips said.
That echoed his first State of the Judiciary speech to the Legislature in 1989, when he advocated a system of appointing judges who would then periodically stand
unopposed for election. The plan would require a constitutional amendment to be approved by
Phillips, the first Republican elected chief justice, also said that ethics legislation should apply to the judiciary, calling that branch of government “most dependent on public confidence.”
Some current proposals to limit campaign contributions do not include the judicial branch, according to Phillips.
The chief justice also said the state should provide full funding for its courts, rather than requiring reliance on local government money.
In this legislative session, Phillips urged lawmakers to increase funding over the next two years for such priority items as:
— Adding professional staff, or increasing staff compensation, to keep pace with growing caseloads in appellate courts.
For example, Phillips said, the Court of Criminal Appeals has 199 pending death penalty ca1 es, and the average time from filing to disposition of the cases is more than 30 months.
— Increasing the salary for retired appellate and trial judges assigned to sit in cases. Such judges now receive only the difference between their retirement pay and the daily salary of the judge for whom they sit, Phillips said.
Governor says lottery chance a ‘tossup’
AUSTIN (AP) — Gov. Ann Richards said she still is pushing for passage of a state lottery, but she doesn’t know if lawmakers will heed her message.
“I've always said it’s going to be real hard to pass, and I think it’s a tossup at this point,” Richards said Tuesday.
The governor has designated the lottery as emergency legislation, touting it as a way to meet part of an estimated $4.6 billion budget shortfall through fiscal year 1993.
Hearings have been set for Wednesday in the Senate, ami Monday in the House, on the measure.
To put the proposed constitutional amendment establishing a lottery
before voters, a two-thirds vote is needed in the 150-member House and 31-member Senate.
“I don’t know whether we can win
this or not,” Richards said. “The important thing for me... is to be able to tell the people of this state that I have done every single thing I know to do to save money, to consolidate government and to raise revenue from sources other than taxes.
“And if the Legislature chooses otherwise, I will have done my part,” she said.
Rep. Glenn Repp, a leading lottery opponent, maintains that he’s counted enough votes in the House to keep the measure off a statewide ballot. He said he agrees with Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock that a lottery is a “sleazy” way for state government to raise money.
“It takes 51 (votes in the House) to defeat it. We’ve always had more than
that,” said Repp, R-Duncanville. “If anything, I’m confident that we’re becoming stronger.”
The Senate has passed lottery legislation in a previous session, but the measure never has found sufficient support in the more conservative House.
Rep. Ron Wilson, House sponsor of lottery legislation, said the measure will look better to lawmakers as they realize the enormity of the state’s budget problems.
The lottery cannot take care of the whole budget crisis, “but it can sure do its part,” said Wilson, D-Houston. Estimates are the state could raise $730 million from a lottery in 1992-93.
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Rural Texans say they’re being ignored, need help
AUSTIN (AP) — Rural Texans fncc serious problems in health care and economic development and worry that state government isn’t listening to them, a new study says.
“There is a distinct feeling among rural Texans that their concerns are not being heard in state government,” said the report submitted to the Legislature Tuesday by the Rural Economic Development Commission.
The commission’s report was compiled after public hearings held across the state. The commission was headed by Zcrlc L. Carpenter, director of the Texas Agriculture Extension Service at Texas A&M University.
Heading the list of those concerns was medical care.
“The lack of availability of rural health and trauma care has reached crisis proportions and is becoming a significant detriment to growth and development,” the report said.
The commission said closing of rural hospitals and medical offices has placed an even greater emphasis on the availability of emergency medical technicians in rural areas.
The report urged the Texas Depart-
Richards continues battle with
ment of Health to stop requiring retraining of EMTs every four years, a practice it called “an unnecessary administrative and financial burden.” Rather, EMTs should be retested every two years, with retraining for those who fail.
The commission said rural Texans also lack information about federal and state programs designed to assist their communities in economic development efforts. As a solution, it suggested that a Rural Assistance Qear-inghousc be set up within the Texas Department of Commerce.
Among the commission’s other recommendations:
— The governor should create an Office of Rural Affairs to provide information to rural areas.
— The Treasury should designate some state investments to buy the federally insured portion of loans made to rural Texas businesses.
— The Legislature should increase funding and include nonagricultural businesses in the Linked Deposit Program, which leverages private sources of capital with deposits of state funds in rural banks.
Saturday and Evening Classes Available Classes held at Holiday inn
Saturday, Feb. 16 8:00-5:00 Mon. & Tues. March. 4 & 5 6:00-10:00
Safety First 625-3736
IRS Electronic Filing
Income Tax Returns Pick Up Your Packet At:
$35.00 Filing Fee TAXTRAN, Inc.
In New Braunfels at: Centex Office Center
Courtyard Shopping Center 629-3979
Rivercrest Drive-In Stores
#1 995 Loop 337 625 9535 #2-617 Hwy 81 -by Kroger 629 5675
Pit Stop Food Mart All Locations
In San Marcos at: Advance Business Systems
329 S. Guadalupe 396 1027
In Startzville at:
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All Seguin Area FARMCO Diamond Shamrock Stations
With Electronic I ’ing, it takes about two weeks for Direct Deposit to your bank and about three weeks for a paper check.
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What do for New
you see on the Horizon Braunfels as we get closer
state board I & closer to the year 2000?
AUSTIN (AP) — Gov. Ann Richards has kept her sights on the State Board of Insurance, which she has claimed has failed to do a good enough job at protecting consumers.
On Tuesday, Richards demoted the current chairman and continued her push to place the agency under the control of a special panel.
Richards named her lone appointee to the Insurance Board, Austin lawyer Claire Korioth, as chair to replace James Saxton.
In her Slate of the State address to the Legislature last week, Richards called on Saxton and the third board member, Richard Reynolds, to resign by Friday.
Both Saxton and Reynolds, who arc holdover appointees of former Gov. Bill Clements, have defended their performance and refuse to step down. Although no longer chairman, Saxton said he will continue to serve on the board
“Two of the members of the board have been there for a while and we have not seen the kind of progress that we need to sec,” Richards said in designating Ms. Korioth the new board chairwoman.
Richards said the board has failed to warn consumers about financially ailing or fraudulent insurance companies, and has sided with the insurance industry in adopting rate increases.
“It’s going to uke people on that board who arc really going to get busy about the matter of doing the things that we should have done a long time ago,” she said.
Richards said she would continue to press for control of the mammoth agency that oversees the $30 billion per year insurance industry in Texas.
6 6 What do I Ma at wa gat closer to the year 2000?
I foresee New Braunfels as a thriving and prosperous city with a strong tradition of ratlglon, education, tourism, and cultural activities. New Braunfels wilt also maintain the unique spirit of community pride and Involvement. All of the numerous service organizations will strive In a harmonious fashion to make this city a better place to live, work, and to ralM a family.
The three Rotary Clubs In our city will maintain the commitment to provide "Service Above Self”. Rotary win play a key role In providing the conMrvative leadership and dedication to kaep the wonderful dream alive.JN NEW BRAUNFELS IST DAS LEBEN SCHON. J J Larry E. Schwab
New Braunfels Evening Rotary Club President
mf i v; JKI if rn
Sunday March 31, 1991