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12 Senators That Changed Texas
The voters of Texas elect members into the State Legislature to represent the people’s will in Texas decision making. These members have an obligation to their constituencies to speak and vote on the bill’s brought before them. The income they receive for their duty to the state comes directly from the taxpayer’s within the state. In The Miracle of the Killer Bees: 12 Senators Who Changed Texas Politics by Robert Heard, the negligence of 12 Texas Senators toward their political and constitutional responsibilities is unrightfully exonerated. Heard’s descriptions of the Senators, legislative actions, and political importance are extremely bias, and he does not portray the incident fairly.
The legislative bill, which instigates the controversy and events taking place in this book, calls for two separate days for primary elections. The presidential primary would be held on a different day than other political offices. The Senate, however, is to discuss another bill concerning the election, bill 1149, but it is foreseen that the house will send back the bill amended, providing for a separate-day primary. The reason for converging thoughts on bill 602, the one concerning a separate-day primary, was its effect on the democratic elections coming up. The anticipation of a close race between Ronald Reagan and John Connelly in upcoming Republican Party’s primary election created a strong desire for conservative Democratic voter’s to participate. However, with the more conservative democrats voting on the Republican primary, the more moderate and liberal Democrats would dominate in nominating their candidates for other political offices.
This took place in 1979, a time when Democrats were the Texas majority; only four of the thirty-one members of the Senate being Republican. The 602 bill would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which would keep it from being considered due to lack of support, but if 1149, which is more favorable, gets to the house and then sent back with provisions for 602 only a majority in Senate would pass it. Lieutenant Governor, presiding officer in the Senate, Bill Hobby posted notice that the Senate would be switch to a less traditional rule. This gave Hobby ability to switch to “regular order of business” on Friday, which allowed for the pending election bill, 1149, to be decided on. That prior Tuesday, a filibuster by some of the killer bees kept the bill from being resolved; therefore, this overcame their hope to kill it. The name, killer bees, was actually first given to Senator Lloyd Doggett and Senator Ron Clower by Hobby for their use of filibusters in anti-environment and anti-consumer legislation. These two and Senators Parker, Mauzy, Schwartz, Jones, Patman, Truan, Kothman, and Vale made up the ten that together met at Parker’s legislative aide, Dora McDonald’s for breakfast on that Friday and refused to go to the capital building and perform their Senatorial duties. Also missing were Longoria, who had a previously scheduled court date, and Brooks, who did not clearly take sides with either the bees or Hobby.
The Senate, therefore, did not have two-thirds or 21 of its members, which is necessary for them to hold session. The killer bees accomplished their mission, to break the quorum, and defeat Hobby’s attempt to pass the new bill. The rest of the book describes their hiding in the McDonald’s one room apartment and the call placed on the Senate issuing a statewide search involving the DPS for the missing Senators including Longoria, whom sided with the bees and Brooks, who was in Oklahoma and kept his intentions covert to everyone. Two Senators need to be found in order to conduct business in the Senate giving them the two-thirds attendance. Heard gives many accounts of Hobby and the remaining Senator’s anger and disgust of the current situation.
Finally after 4 days with no sign of the Bees, Brooks back from Oklahoma claims he had no affiliation with the Killer Bees and their cause, but had just found out about the happenings in the Texas Senate. He sets up to meet with Hobby that night to talk about negotiations for the return of the Killer Bees. He acts as spokesman for the Bees, though never discusses this with any of them or even makes them aware of his conference. Brooks never actually associating himself with the Killer Bees and seems to have waited for either another senator to be caught or a popular opinion from the public to be visible, following the general rule in politics. The next day Hobby was ready to negotiate, after also receiving a call from Gene Jones, whom remained hidden but split with the other nine in McDonald’s apartment the first day, because the compact living conditions were intolerable. Schwartz called Hobby they discussed the conditions of the Killer Bees return: none of the Killer Bees could make personal privilege speeches against Hobby or any of the other senators, the call on the Senate would be lifted, and the Senate would handle routine business at a time after 3 p.m. letting the Bees have a press conference to share their feelings with the press, and the 1149 bill would then be laid out for a second reading, but no further mo.............
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