In two more years we will hear "Four More Years!"
Governor Dolph Briscoe plans to run for re-election.
He mav have had that in mind when he broke his long silence on-
women's issues by inserting a single sentence in his 1977 State of the
"Also in the area of human resources," Briscoe said, "I
recommend that the legislature establish a state commission on the
Matus of women
Texas is the only state in the union without a commission on the
status of women. In the last session of the legislature, women
lawmakers sought the governor's support in vain for a bill that would
have created one. While one bill passed overwhelmingly in the
Senate, with the strong support of Lt. Gov Bill Hobby and State
Senator Betty Andujar, the Senate sponsor, it died in the House State
There were no women legislators on that committee
"I feel it would have passed if we had the governor's support, said
State Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas. "He just hasn't done too
much for women "
Fort Worth State Rep. Chris Miller sponsored the House bill in the
last session ana brought witnesses iron. Washington to testify
on behalf of the commission. While Miller was pleased with the
governor's recent pronouncements, she questioned his motives.
'He's looking ahead. Women are a majority in Texas and anyone
considering running for office has to take tMat into account."
While women make up a majority of the population, women
legislators make up only seven percent of the Texas House and Senate
seats. To put it another way, 93% of the lawmakers are male. All
elected state officials are male This situation points up the need for a
commission on the status of women.
The commission is designed to identify the needs and problems of
women and to work to keep both women and legislators informed in
In the current session, the commission bill has not reached the final
draiting stage but is expected to be almost identical to the bill
introduced last session. Senator Betty Andujar is expected to sponsor
the bill again in the Senate. Representatives John Wilson of La
Grange and Sarah Weddington of Austin are reported to be the House
The commission will be composed of 15 members — nine appointed
by the governor, three by the lieutenant governor and three by the
Speaker of the House.
According to the language of the bill, "membership must include
homemakers, persons in business and the professions and persons not
employed outside their home."
To be eligible for appointment, "a member must have exhibited an
interest in areas of concern to women." That is the only stated
Commission members will report to the governor and the legislature
"findings concerning laws that impose special limitations or burdens
on women" and will make "specific recommendations for legislation
relating to subjects under study by the commission."
The governor has the power to appoint nine of the 15 commission
members, so the strength of his commitment to equal rights for
women will determine the commission's effectiveness.
Where Women Are News
STAFF — THIS ISSUE
Art — Mark Stinson
Circulation — Karen Barrett, Sonia Carmeon, Leslie Larson, Elizabeth
Maxwell, Lucy Moyer, Iris Sizemore, Naomi Smith, Sara Spahr
Production — Karen Barnett, Janice Blue, Rachel Burke, Gabrielle
Cosgriff, Ann Harris
Editors-Writers — Karen Barrett, Janice Blue, Gabrielle Cosgriff
Office — Janice Blue, Ann Harris, Barbara Hugetz Glenda Sherry
Photography — Amos Barrow, Janice Fowles, Robbin Hohmann,
Christie Jelen, Judy Kier, Odelia Mendez
Typesetting — Georgette Frelong, Ann Harris, Barbara Hugetz,
Gertrude Barnstone, Karen Barrett, Janice Blue
Gabrielle Cosgriff, Barbara Hugetz
Vol. II, No. 2, February 1977. Houston Breakthrough is published
monthly (with the exception of the June-July and the August-September
issues) by the Breakthrough Publishing Company, 1708 Rosewood,
Houston, Texas 77004 P.O. Box 88072, Houston, Texas 77004.
Telephone (713) 526-6686. Subscriptions $5.00 a year. Newsstand 50
cents per copy. This publication is on file at the International Women's
History Archive in the Special Collections Library, Northwestern
University, Evanston, Illinois 60201.
For a supposedly conservative
senator, Walter Mengden certainly is careless with the taxpayers' money. He proposes to
spend thousands of dollars on the
of the Texas ratification of the
Equal Rights Amendment. For
just one dollar, he could have
bought a copy of the House
subcommittee report on the 1975
hearings on the ERA. The report
completely disproves the linking
of the ERA to such "absurd"
results as unisex restrooms and
homosexual marriages. On the
other hand, the ERA will put a
"sharper bite" in the current
loophole-ridden sex discrimination laws.
Those who already understand
the ERA are urged to send their
dollars elsewhere. Nevada is very
close to ratification and has asked
Texas for help in financing a
media campaign. Send your contributions immediately to Neva-
dans for ERA, 1212 South Casino
Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
89104, Attention: Kate Butler.
Texans for ERA
Congratulations on your first
birthday. May they be endless.
May they continue to mark
milestones in your reporting
achievements on events that
affect the human condition. May
your spirit of advocacy continue
and strengthen and spread across
the whole of Texas.
Congratulations to Dr. Nikki
Van Hightower, Woman of the
Year, and to Breakthrough's
Media Award Winners: Sara
Lowrey, JoAnn Vallie Rush, Jan
Carson, Elma Barrera and Phyllis
The Texas Nurses Association
wishes to join you in honoring
these outstanding professionals,
especially Jan Carson of
KTRK-TV. TNA, on behalf of
nurses and consumers, is appreciative of Breakthrough's recognition of the significance of UT
Board of Regent's action regarding the dissolution of the System
School of Nursing. We salute Ms.
Carson and the KTRK-TV management for fulfilling the public's
expectations of responsible
Happy birthday — and many
Texas Nurses Association
Congratulations on your first
birthday. Sure hope you are
around for lots more.
This January issue is excellent.
I work at Channel 8, and I want
you to know we appreciate the
coverage of our programming of
interest to women. We have
suffered from a visibility problem
in the city. (Also from the
widespread belief that we get
money from the University of
It is not until I read Breakthrough that I fully realize how
lousy the Houston newspapers
are. There is so much going on
that they don't cover. And the TV
news is even worse. It is perfectly
clear the electronic news prefers
doing a "blood and guts" roundup to doing investigative reporting. And it is clear that the
women — such as those Breakthrough is giving awards to —
are doing a lot of the good stuff
that does, somehow, make it on
Keep on keeping us informed.
You are bright shining evidence
that the women's movement is
alive and well and moving. I wish
you good luck and lots of new
subscriptions in the coming year.
All members of the Committee
for Women in Crisis want to
express our appreciation for your
support of our efforts to develop a
shelter for battered women. The
money received from copies of
your newspaper donated to support Del Martin's visit helped us
meet our goal. The coverage
given to battered women, especially the interview in last
month's issue, is helping to
educate the Houston community
to a seldom discussed problem of
women. This improved community awareness will go a long way
toward helping us obtain funding
to establish shelters.
Thank you for your excellent
responsive coverage and all-
around support. Keep up the
Women in Crisis Committee
ELIZABETH OTEY TERRY
Associate Executive Director
In our March issue, Break
through will present a forum on
Alex Haley's Roots, which re
cently aired on ABC-TV. Reac
tions have been astonishingly
varied. Some express satisfaction
that Blacks are assuming major
roles on prime time TV; others
call Roots another form of Black
exploitation. Has it renewed anger against whites for past injustices? Is it all another media
hype? Whatever it is, Roots
:ertainly struck a nerve. Let us
<now how it affected you. Send
letters to Roots, P.O. Box 88072,
Houston, Texas 77004.
Page 2 • February 1977 • Houston Breakthrough