Seminole Sentinel (Seminole, Tex.), Vol. 95, No. 70, Ed. 1 Sunday, June 15, 2003 Page: 4 of 12
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PAGE 4, 8tminoto (Hum) 8#n4ral, Sunday, Jura 15.2003
tate Capital Highlights
Compiled by Mike Cox, Texas Press Association
Texas to Set Insurance
Rates... for A Little While
AUSTIN - The legislative process in
Texas has gone from sine die to sign or
When the Legislature adjourns sine
die, the governor has 20 days to sign or
veto bills. Facing that June 22 deadline,
Gov. Rick Percy had signed 202 bills as of
Three of the bills Fterry put his name
on will have a big impact on home owners,
but not as much of an'impact as some had
The biggest of the three was Senate
BUI 14, which effective on its signing date
placed all insurance companies doing
business in Texas under state regulation.
Under the new law, the insurance
commissioner has the authority to review
and approve or reject rates for home
Affected insurance companies have a
little less than three weeks to file their
current rates with Insurance Commissioner
Jose Montemayor, who then has three
months to approve the rates. That means
the cost of new policies or renewals could
begin going down by July, in some cases
by as much as 25 percent.
That’s the good news. The bad news
from the consumer perspective is that this
new, tough control only holds until
December 2003. After that, Insurance
companies will be able to return to setting
the rates they want.
The state will only be empowered to
meddle with those rates if it believes they
are too high, inequitable or discriminatory.
Consumer groups also were
disappointed that the Legislature did not
approve an across-the-board rollback of
rates to January 2001 figures.
Also signed into law was House Bill
329, which sets up a licensing program for
mold remedlators and assessors - a
previously unregulated industry. This law
goes on the books effective Sept 1.
A third insurance-related measure,
Senate Bill 127, requires insurers to move
more quickly on water damage claims. The
idea behind this bill is to get water damage
taken care of before mold has time to grow.
Cuts won’t be healthy for some...
Another piece of legislation signed by
Perry leaves a lot of state workers
wondering whether they will be able to
make their mortgage payments, much less
their insurance fees.
House Bill 2292, which the governor
transformed into law with the stroke of his
pen, consolidates a dozen health-related
agencies into four components under a
new umbrella agency to be known as the
Department of Health and Human
Though the reorganization will save an
estimated $1 billion in tax dollars, it also
will eliminate at least 2,162 jobs.
Opponents of the legislation argued that
the real loss could go as high as 5,000.
Many of the lost positions exist only on
paper or can be realized through
retirements or attrition, but some
proverbial pink slips will be in the offing.
Still up in the air is whether the 107-
year-old Texas State Historical Association
will suffer a 100 percent budget cut in its
state funding. The association has been
headquartered on the University of Texas
campus since William Prather was the
school’s president in the early 1900s.
In modem times, the association has
been receiving funds through the UT
College of Liberal Arts, which is currently
considering elimination of the Center for
Studies in Texas History, which includes
The association publishes the
Southwestern Historical Quarterly and the
New Handbook of Texas, which is available
free on-line and receives more than 1
million hits monthly.
Politics is all about playing ball. So, of
course, is baseball. The Texas State History
Museum has opened a new temporary
exhibit on the history of baseball in the
Lone Star State. More than 100 Texas
towhs, from Ballinger to Frisco, have had
minor league baseball teams since 1888,
when the Texas League was established.
And Houston and Dallas have had and do
have big league teams.
In addition to the exhibit, which runs
through the rest of the year, this summer
the museum will feature a one-man show
on Texas black baseball great Willie Wetts,
who grew up in Austin.
Making a Difference
We’ve Got to See Some Ugly
Before We See the Pretty
by Gina Caswell Kelly
I was covered with dirt working in the yard one day at the Nursing
Home and a lady who came to visit commented on how hard we were
working and how good everything was looking. I said, “Yes, but it surely
Is nasty work In the mean time.” Her reply was, “Don’t you know that
there is always some ugly before you get to see the pretty?” I had to
agree with her. If we never saw the ugly, would we even recognize the
pretty when it showed up?
So many times in our lives bad things happen. Now some people
would say, “What kind of God would allow bad things to happen to His
children?” I don’t have all the theological answers to all these kinds of
questions. But, I can tell you what 1 do know. If I had never had any bad
stuff in my own life, 1 would never have seen some of God’s greatest
blessings. Whether or not God brings it or allows it is not an easy answer
but whichever, the fact is that we are blessed as we go through the
wm^n^vnere lniercyor ^Gaines; yotf/ 2re likely woi
what you are going to do now. I am in the same boat (no pun intended! )7
We have had so much rain and hail. For many of us this is at least the
second year in a row for a major hail.
That is pretty ugly.
So when does the pretty come? It comes when we realize that God
is still our guide and what makes Him such a great guide is that He can
see down the road and knows what is coming so He has the perfect
In Nehemiah, it talks about the success of God’s people and how
they achieved this success. Their method was very simple. Do what
God says and always follow His plan. They were so successful that it
goes on to say after they had completed the wall that even their enemies
recognized that their success was because “the good hand of their God
was upon them."
As we struggle through the ugly in search of the pretty, always seek
God’s guidance. He really does have a plan even for cotton, grain
sorghum and peanuts! And In the end everyone will see “the good hand
of our God was upon us. ”
Staged Events (Photo ops)...
Nothing New in Texas Politic
The term “photo op” had not yet
been.coined, but long before jet
planes and aircraft carriers would be
invented, savvy 19,h century
politicians understood something as
well as their modem successors: that
staged events could get free ink for
someone aspiring to public office.
Two days after Christmas in
1899, several score Austin
“sportsmen” saddled their horses
and called up their dogs for a Texas-
style fox hunt, only the quarry would
be a mountain lion, not a fox. And it
is extremely doubtful that anyone
had a horn, though there might have
been a horn or two of whiskey
hanging from a few saddles just in
case one of the dogs poked his nose
in a rattlesnake den and disturbed
one of its hibernating occupants.
Leading the hunt was former
governor James Stephen Hogg
(whose 300 pound plus bulk was a
clear and present danger to anything
short of a beer wagon horse) andJiis
guest, the honorable Williams
Bryan, a Democrat, was a U.S.
Senator from Nebraska. In 1896, at
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the Democratic National Convention
in Chicago, he had given his famous
“Cross of Gold” speech.
Campaigning on economic points
now lumped together by historians
as the free silver issue, he lost that
year’s presidential race to William
Now, in 1899, Bryan was posed
to make another run for the White
House. Again, it looked like his
opponent would be McKinley.
Though Hogg had chosen to end
his political career, the first native-
born Texas governor remained
vitally interested in politics. He
really thought Bryan should be the
next President of the United States.
As a veteran campaigner, he also
knew that Bryan’s name had to be
kept vibrant in the public mind-and
in the public print.
An old newspaper man, maybe
Hogg cooked up the lion hunt idea
himself? He certainly was known for
his sense of humor, and he had
grown up in East Texas, where
hunting everything from raccoons to
bear with dogs was as common as
Accordingly, Hogg and Bryan
mounted their horses (it was not
reported whether someone had to
help Hogg into the saddle) and led a
posse of some 100 hunters and half
as many trailing dogs into the cedar
covered hills west of the capital city.
Though that portion of Travis
County was sparsely populated,
even in 1899 it was far from prime
catamount habitat. Fortunately,
“details of the hunt” had been seen to
About 1:30 p.m., the mighty
hunters rode back into town with a
live, tail-swishing, highly-annoyed
mountain lion in their custody. A
closer inspection would have shown
the cat was somewhat long in the
“The sport was reported as
being quite lively throughout,” the
Austin Statesman informed its
readers the next day.
But the hunt was as phony as a
counterfeit greenback, free silver or
The newspaper, to its credit,
said as much in its report of the
incident. It didn’t belabor the point,
but back then theterm "canned hunt”
would have been as foreign as
The panther had been cooped up
for the past three days, and was
released about an hour before the
party arrived, “the anonymous
scribe who reported the hunt wrote.
“The dogs took his trail at once, and
after two hours rambling through
heavy undergrowth and many acres
of prickly pear came upon the
panther, who had been forced to take
refuge in a small tree.”
The dogs managed to get the cat
un-treed and quite a fight ensued,
according to the contemporary
report. “Specially aggressive in the
matter of attacking the panther” was
ex-Govemor Hogg’s fox terrier.
After the dogs and the old cat
mixed it up for about an hour, the
lion was lassoed and brought back to
Austin so the proud politicians could
pose for a photograph with their
catch. Hopeftilly its owner gave it a
saucer of milk before putting it back
in its cage.
Though not exactly a wild cat,
the lion had given the horsemen and
their dogs a good run. Some of the
riders would be pulling cactus
needles from their legs for a while,
not to mention the fate of the animals
Even so, the newspaper
concluded, “The hunt was
pronounced by all as being a great
one...and the entire crowd was most
The electorate, however, was
unimpressed that the senator from
Nebraska was an accomplished lion
hunter. McKinley beat Bryan again
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Fisher, David. Seminole Sentinel (Seminole, Tex.), Vol. 95, No. 70, Ed. 1 Sunday, June 15, 2003, newspaper, June 15, 2003; Seminole, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth804348/m1/4/: accessed January 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Gaines County Library.