New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 14, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
Texas water bill gets changes approval
AUSTIN (AP) — The Senate Natural Resources Committee adopted over 50 amendments to their version of a statewide water plan while the House gave final approval to its proposal with a 105-17 vote.
Both water plans differ in varying degrees with the House proposal having an $800 million price tag compared to the Senate's more expensive package of $1 billion.
Other differences in the House and Senate plans are sections concerning environmental protection. Sierra Club spokesman Ken Kramer said the Senate plan, introduced by Sen. John Montford, D-Lubbock, offers better protection for bays and estuaries along the Gulf Coast.
The organisation fears the House version would lead to inland dams that would cut needed fresh water flow to the bays.
The Senate version also would give the state control over ground water pumping in some areas if local voters did not enact controls.
An amendment introduced by Montford during the Senate hearing and approved by the committee Wednesday calls for a six-member multistate waterrf-T^r—IV,-. J Legislature
resources planning commission, which wasn’t in his original bill.
Committee chairman Sen. Tati Santiesteban, D-El Paso, said the committee considered 82 amendments during its five-hour session on Wednesday.
The differing plans of the House and Senate are on a collision course that probably will lead to a House-Senate conference committee.
After Wednesday’s 105-17 vote, Speaker Gib Lewis said he favored tighter restrictions to guarantee environmental protection, but he said he compromised to get the bill moving.
"I’m more of an environmentalist than other people,” he said. "At the same time, I’m more of a realist. I think what we worked out is a pretty good compromise. What
we sent to the Senate is a well-balanced package.”
Wednesday’s House vote sent to the Senate the legislation needed to implement their water plan.
If approved by lawmakers, the proposed constitutional amendment would go to Texas voters this November.
The House on Tuesday gave 134-11 approval a plan allowing the state to sell $800 million in bonds to pay the water program. It includes $200 million for flood control projects, $200 million for water quality projects, $200 million for reservoirs and $200 million for other use.Bill seeks feefrom child care centers
Texas child care facilities should pay an annual fee to fund training programs for child care workers and parents, according to Rep. Erwin Barton.
Barton, D-Pasadena, told the House Committee on Human Resources Wednesday that the program could help parents "self-police” the child care industry, which has been under fire as a result of news accounts of child abuse.
"The stories that are making headlines are terrifying and tragic,” said Barton, committee chairman.
Under his proposal day care facilities would pay annual fees averaging $1.60 per child. The state now collects no fees from child care providers. The Department of Human Resources inspects the 7,000 licensed day care centers, but does not inspect the 10,000 registered family homes.
Approximately 128,000 children are in registered family homes, according to DHR.
Barton said the fees would bring in about $1.1 million a year to set up parent and child-care provider training. Parents would be told what to look for in a facility, he said.
Committee member Jack Vowell, R-El Paso, said the training programs probably would do little to curtail child abuse at day care facilities.
"I don’t want anyone to think if we passed this law we would have solved a bunch of problems,” said Vowell.
Committee member Mike McKinney, D-Centerville, said he had been told it would cost about $8 million a year for the state to inspect registered family homes. He called Barton’s bill "the first thing we need to do.”
"It’s only the first step,” he said.
newspaper faces libel suit
MAGNOLIA (AP) — Three years ago, Carolyn Foster began a weekly newspaper, the Potpourri News, to inform residents of public meetings, business openings, the travails of the Magnolia High School Bulldogs in athletic events, and other local happenings.
Her free-distribution newspaper, she says, was in no way intended to propel her into a First Amendment battle over an order by a state district judge in Conroe concerning what her supporters — at the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, the Texas Press Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi — are calling "prior restraint.”
Nonetheless, she said, Judge Olen Underwood’s temporary restraining order, which late last week banned her from publishing any material” embarrassing to Montgomery County Commissioner Weldon Locke, has brought home to her the freedom of the press issue.
"My biggest concern now is with all our freedoms," she told the Houston Chronicle Wednesday. "That truly concerns me. What comes next? Freedom of religion?”
The issue of the controversy is a letter to the editor published Feb. 6 in the Potpourri News. The letter’s author, Kaye McCoy, raised questions about the propriety of Commissioner Locke’s ongoing romantic relationship with County Auditor Marilyn Thomason.
It was a letter that quickly prompted a $19.25 million damage lawsuit against the letter writer, Mrs. Foster and her newspaper.
Mrs. Foster is 50 years old, with six children and five grandchildren. She is a lover of dogs, an avid booster of this 900-resident community in southwest Montgomery County, and the wife af Magnolia real estate dealer Bob Foster, a retired Houston police detective.
Over the years, she has operated a secretarial service, worked as office manager for an ad agency and run a poodle grooming shop here.
Her newspapering experience, she said, was as co-editor of her high school paper.
Yet in the three years she has been editor and publisher af Potpourri News, a lot has been accomplished. Her staff now includes a half-dozen workers, including two reporters. The paper distributes 19,500 issues a week.
Her inaugural issue was a single yellow page that began with the words, "Hello! My name is Potpourri. I am a place mat.”
Readers who lifted their plates to pert underneath could find news of the local rodeo, the Chamber of Commerce schedule, the 4-H Club horse show and the Bulldogs' football victory over Houston Furr, but it bore scant resemblance to today’s Potpourri newspaper.
Nowadays, Potpourri has been busily fulfilling what Foster sees as its mission in an area devoid of other community papers. It covers sports events, police news, politics and miscellaneous readers’ letters. The letter materials, Potpourri’s editor said, have developed into one of the most widely parts of the paper.
Her paper's policy for publishing letters to the editor is — as stated in print for all to see — very simple: Authors of letters must identify themselves and, if they hope to see their materials published, they best keep it brief.
If the letters become accusatory or insulting, Poster said, she calls the people on the receiving end.
"I contact them and art them if they have • problem with it and seMdt a rebuttal,” rte told the Chronlde.
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