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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 4, No. 1, December 1978 - January 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 4, No. 1, December 1978 - January 1979 - Page 5. December 1978 - January 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 8, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/884/show/861.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(December 1978 - January 1979). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 4, No. 1, December 1978 - January 1979 - Page 5. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/884/show/861

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 4, No. 1, December 1978 - January 1979 - Page 5, December 1978 - January 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 8, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/884/show/861.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 4, No. 1, December 1978 - January 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date December 1978 - January 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 5
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File Name femin_201109_546ae.jpg
Transcript Lobbyist for Women Austin's Cathy Bonner by Esther Horton Cathy Bonner, an Austin public relations and advertising businesswoman, will lobby for the Texas Women's Political Caucus (TWPC) in the 66th Legislature. BREAKTHROUGH reporter Ester Horton talked with her recently about women's issues in the upcoming session. Is this legislative session important to feminists? Yes. I think that it's a crucial time in that we don't really know what to expect and with the backlash of Proposition 13, and the state seeming to be more conservative in outlook in human and civil rights, we want to be careful that we maintain the gains we've made in the last few sessions, particularly ERA. Is Texas targeted as one of the states for recission? Well, I've heard that Phyllis Schlafly and the stop-ERA plan is to get 15 states to rescind their ratification and that Texas is one of the targeted states. Now, this was even before the new governor was elected so they really might feel that they have a chance now . . . Texas, of course, has its own ERA in our constitution , and we want to be very careful that that's not tampered with either . . . You see, the real question— I think we can hold down ERA in committee because I think most legislators just don't want to vote on it—but crucial consideration lies with the issue of initiative and referendum, which has already been pre-filed (in bills by Sen. Walter Mengden of Houston in the Senate and Reps. Carlyle Smith of Grand Prairie and Donald Cartwright of San Antonio in the House) . . . The whole issue of initiative and referendum we oppose because if that's allowed, then I think on women's issues a whole bunch of them are going to be put on the ballot, everything from ERA to abortion and gay rights, to all those issues that seem controversial, that you could whip up 10 per cent of those that voted in the last gubernatorial election to sign a petition to either pass a law restricting or do away with a law that's passed. What would the State of Texas be able to do on abortion? Right now we don't have any restrictive laws, and Sarah Weddington's game plan was to always try to keep anything from passing. Once you allow anything to be passed, which the Supreme Court said the state could pass I think in the second trimester, legislation restricting certain aspects of the procedure, that just opens the door to more and more restrictive action ... I think what's going to be proposed is something similar to the Akron, Ohio ordinance where they made abortion procedures so restrictive that it really prohibits . . . many doctors from performing abortions. Has there been a test case on that ordinance before the Supreme Court? I don't know . . . Clearly, we think some of these things are unconstitutional if they are applied across the board but that's never kept the legislature from passing anything before. Also, I think there's going to be a bill passed limiting the use of state funds for abortions ... And, of course, the big push across the nation is that local legislators would pass initiative calls for constitutional conventions on abortion, and we're against that because they would want to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion . . . Do you think the fact that Bill Clements is going to be governor rather than John Hill is going to make it tougher going for feminists this session? Well, I'd hate to say that across the I board because I think we have an obligation to give him a chance and to work with him and his administration on women's issues . . . The problem is that we're just fairly ignorant about where Mr. Clements stands on women's issues. That's probably our fault more than anything in that most of the organized feminist groups, such as the Women's Political Caucus, supported John Hill financially and personally, and we knew exactly where he stood on women's issues. We knew that he, within his administration in the past and within his campaign, utilized women's resources and women's expertise at a very high level. Many feminists were a part of his campaign so we felt we had access to him. And we had very little communication with Bill Clements . . . There are certain statements that have been made in newspapers around the state about ERA . . . About his wife's involvement in recission of ERA? I don't know about that. I know that he stated at some point that he felt that the ERA was unnecessary, but we know that Mrs. Clements made the statement that since the ERA is part of the Texas Constitution, then as the governor of Texas, he (Clements) supports the Constitution ... So we hope that we can work with her in preserving what we have on ERA. Are there prominent feminists in the state who are Republican? Well, the Caucus has a woman named Helen Knaggs, who is chair of the Republican caucus (in TWPC), and she's a very skilled politician and lobbyist . . . and she will be very instrumental in helping us with the Republicans. There are other women in the Caucus that are Republican, though there are not as many as Democrats and independents. But we'll be relying on a few of them. Hopefully, this will be a chance for the Caucus to bring more women into the organization that are Republican that want to be a part of our efforts and can help up represent these goals to a Republican administration. What other issues in the legislature this session will affect women? There are many issues we're concerned about, such as the Nurse Practice Act . . . Nurses in this state do not have to be licensed to practice nursing, unlike the majority of other states in the nation. They have what they call volunteer licensing, and because the nursing industry is primarily made up of women, it's an issue that concerns the Caucus. And also because it speaks to the professionalism of these women and the fact that people that, say, fail their state boards or are foreign nurses who have never taken the state boards are practicing in clinics and nursing homes around the state. The Texas Nurses Association has tried for many sessions to change that, so that you have mandatory licensing of professional nurses . . . We're concerned with some issues in criminal justice such as the need for a statewide treatment program for sex offenders. . . . We're very interested in the whole issue of domestic and family violence, and about what could be done legally . . . There is talk about having an omnibus family violence bill presented. What would that be? It's really unclear right now, but it would go into some criminal procedure and how police respond to calls of domestic and family violence, reporting those crimes as specific acts so you can at least document the need at local levels, say for a battered women's center .. . There's also a resolution passed by the caucus to support a constitutional amendment to expand the Board of Pardons and Paroles to nine members. The Board of Pardons and Paroles, of course, grants pardon and parole for criminals. Texas has one of the largest female offender populations in the country and because of the backlog in the courts and limited access to commissioners for pardons and paroles, the feeling is that a lot of female offenders are hampered in obtaining parole . . . Those are issues of support that the Caucus won't take an active role in probably but certainly will be concerned with. Will the Caucus be trying to have some legislation introduced itself, through sympathetic legislators? Probably not. Originally we were really going to push very hard for a Commission on the Status of Women, but the feeling is now that we don't have a shot at it. Anything that's going to cost money is going to be very difficult to get through this legislature . . . There are some things that we're very interested in; for instance, putting money in the displaced homemakers bill. Last session a bill passed that set up under the Texas Rehabilitation Commission several displaced homemaker centers for women re-entering the job force in technical skills and education training, and the money provided for those centers was not recommended in the proposed budget by the Legislative Budget Board. So we'll be trying to get that money put back into the appropriations bill. We'll be trying to make sure that the program for educational training for women on welfare-AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children)-a program that was passed last session, will be duly funded again. So we're in kind of a defensive posture rather than an offensive posture. What about the composition of the 66th Legislature? Do you think it's going to be more sympathetic to women than, say, the last legislature? I think it's more conservative. The House is still rural-dominated. We have a few friends that we can always rely on, such as Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby ... We still have only one woman in the Senate (Betty Andujar of Fort Worth). She's a Republican, but she was very much for the Rape Reform bill (passed in 1975) and carried it in the Senate. There are 11 women in the House now, so that is an increase over what we had. I think we had six or seven last time. But certainly 11 out of 150 is not representative of the general population, and one out of 30 in the Senate is certainly a gross under- representation. So, to summarize, how does it look to you this session? Does it look like it's going to be one in which we just try to hold on, without really gaining anything major? Hermine Tabolowski (of Dallas), who is kind of the mother of ERA, said the other day that we have to remember that politics is the art of the possible, and I think that we've come of age in the Women's Politicial Caucus to realizing that at certain times there are certain things possible and other things that are impossible. I think what's possible (this session) is that we remain a political force strong enough to safeguard the things we've fought so hard for. DECEMBER/JANUARY 1979 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH