Sunday, April 14, 2024 Apr 14, 2024
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THUMB AWARD The Cost Of Freebies

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Thumbs down to state Senators Chet Edwards. D~Dun-canville. Bob McFarland, R-Arlington, and state Representative Mike Millsap. D-Fort Worth, three of several key Texas legislators who last May were treated by out-of-state business lobbyists to a vacation at a trendy Florida resort. At least ten lawmakers attended a four-day North Palm Beach excursion that included not only fun in the sun, but playing golf, dining at sunset on a pleasure cruiser, and an evening at the dog races. Hosts for the vacation were Unicare Inc., a nursing home corporation that plans to expand its operations into Texas, and Florida dog-racing lobbyists who will be seeking legislative approval for parimutuel gambling in Texas next year. Also present were lobbyists for the Texas Civil Justice Coalition, which advocates tort reform. The lobbyists paid for the lawmakers’ air fare, hotel accommodations, meals, and miscellaneous expenses. Because it creates the appearance of impropriety, the Florida freebie is a textbook example of bad legislative judgment.

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