The 1961 HOUSTONIAN, fully
realizing the history that has been
made, presents an account of the key
events during the 134-day campaign
to obtain Senate and House of Representatives approval of full state support for the University of Houston.
Keep in mind as you read, the
months of preparation and years of
study, by interested and dedicated persons, preceding the opening of the
57th Texas Legislature on January 10,
134-DAY CAMPAIGN BEGINS
January 10, 1961: Rep. James A. Tur-
man of Gober is named Speaker of the
House today. He is believed to be strongly
in favor of our bill.
January 16, 1961: First of a series of
meetings of the Harris County delegation
at which Senate and H/R bills, timing,
probable areas of support and opposition
are discussed in great detail. We are seeking a low H/R number.
BILLS ARE NUMBERED
January 23, 1961: Bill is introduced in
the Senate at 11:05 a.m., by Senator Robert
W. Baker, who had been immediately recognized by Lt. Governor Ben Ramsey. The
bill, SB 2, is referred to the State Affairs
Committee. Delegation members in the
House send word that Rep. Robert C. Eck-
hardt has arranged to get the low number
of HB 11 there.
January 24, 1961: HB 11 is introduced
in the House at 4:15 p.m. by Rep. Criss
Cole. Co-signers include the entire Harris
County H/R delegation and 34 other
members from every area of the state. HB
ll is then referred to the House State
February 1, 1961: There are increasing
indications that most of our difficulties will
be found in the Senate, where a hard core
of resistance to any legislation involving
major spending is developing.
February 13, 1961: At a hearing before
the State Affairs Committee of the Senate
in the afternoon, the final vote is 10-7 in
our favor. At one time during the afternoon, because of other meetings, hearings,
etc., we have exactly three of our supporters
present at the committee table. Closeness
of vote is distressing although we are
pleased to' get the bill out of committee.
In the evening the State Affairs Committee of H/R refers the bill to a subcommittee with a minimum of unfriendly questioning. However, it is apparent that the
committee will want an even more thorough
study in spite of the months already spent
on the problem.
February 15, 1961: An intensive new
program of contacting members of Senate
and H/R is begun by the delegation, with
assistance from members over the state who
are backing us. A decision is reached to
push SB 2 first, possibly trying for a vote
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE listens as University of Houston Vice-President McElhinney answers questions concerning the University's financial status.
March 8, 1961: We are approaching the
necessary 2-1 margin needed to bring SB
2 up in the Senate.
TEST VOTE MEETS DEFEAT
March 20, 1961: We are advised to try
a run in the Senate, in order to get an
absolute measure of strength, as the opposition is gathering its forces and time
is running out.
March 23, 1961: On a test vote to bring
MOTION PICTURES bring the campus to Austin
for members of the House State Affairs Committee.
up SB 2, at 11:15 a.m., we are defeated
14-15 in the Senate. The vote is actually
16-13, but two of our supporters voted
"no" when it becomes apparent that we do
not have a chance of mustering the 2-1
Post-mortem decisions: This is a defeat,
but it clarifies our position. We must now
abandon the hope of obtaining support in
1961, and hope that somehow it will be
possible to bring the University in the
system as of 1963.
April 1, 1961: An emergency meeting
of community leaders is called in Houston
to discuss a series of contacts with members of the Legislature, principally to improve our position in the Senate.
CAMPUS IMPRESSES SUBCOMMITTEE
April 8, 1961: H/R subcommittee holds
a two-hour public hearing in the M. D.
Anderson Library Auditorium. An unbiased firm supplies an evaluation of
$34,000,000 on our campus and physical
plant, which seems to favorably impress
April 12, 1961: We are again approaching a 2-1 majority in the Senate, with the
adoption of the 1963 entrance date and
other amendments. The H/R State Affairs
Committee votes out HB 11 unanimously,
on the basis of a highly favorable recommendation from the subcommittee which
visited the campus.
11 DAYS OF FILIBUSTERS BEGIN
April 17, 1961: Senator Baker is able
to bring up SB 2 at 11:20 a.m. by the barest possible margin of 20-10. Opposing senators then begin a determined filibuster.
April 18, 1961: Filibuster continues in
the Senate. Adjournment comes at 6 p.m.
by agreement because obvious opposition
can go past midnight and no Senate bills
can be debated tomorrow or the next day.
We are ready for a vote in the House and
believe that we have between 85 and 90
votes there on HB 11.
April 19, 1961: HB 11 is engrossed
(passed on to second reading) today at
2:20 p.m. with a vote of 84-34. Rep. Cole
tries immediately for the 2-1 margin needed
for suspension and third passage, but fails
After analysis, the delegation goes to
work at once on the approximately 15 additional votes they believe can be changed.