Featured: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission, left, and Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, discuss legislation important to the state in this image, taken Wednesday, April 15, 2015, on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
A proposal by Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, which would allow a statewide vote in November 2017 to require that half of all future gubernatorial appointments go to qualified women, is scheduled for a public hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Muñoz’ House Joint Resolution 29 is the final measure scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on State Affairs, a 13-member legislative committee that includes Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, and Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City. That committee, chaired by Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, will be meeting in Room EXT E2.108 in the Texas Capitol complex. The meeting will begin once the House of Representatives finishes up its work for the day on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. It also will be broadcast live, and the entire session can be viewed online at http://www.house.state.tx.us/
Roles of women in powerful statewide boards and commissions would dramatically increase under measure by Rep. Sergio Muñoz set for public hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 29
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
A proposal by Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, which would allow a statewide vote in November 2017 to require that half of all future gubernatorial appointments go to qualified women, is scheduled for a public hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
The measure, House Joint Resolution 29, is one of 14 proposals by various state representatives which will receive public testimony before the House Committee on State Affairs.
Under the Muñoz measure, if approved by the Legislature this spring, Texas voters in a statewide election on November 7, 2017, would have the power to create a law that women receive half of all gubernatorial appointments to powerful state boards, commissions, and agencies, such as the Texas Transportation Commission and The University of Texas System Board of Regents.
During a four-year term, a governor will make about 3,000 appointments, according to the governor’s office.
There are more than 200 state boards, commissions and agencies whose members are appointed by the governor, with the consent of the Senate.
“In making any appointment to a state board, commission, or other governing body of a state agency, the governor shall, to the extent possible, ensure that the gender composition of the board, commission, or governing body reflects the gender composition of this state,” Muñoz said.
A joint resolution is a type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature but does not require action by the governor. A joint resolution is used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or request a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Before becoming effective, the provisions of joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution must be approved by the voters of Texas.
A constitutional amendment is a change to the state constitution. A constitutional amendment is proposed by the legislature in the form of a joint resolution that must be adopted by both chambers of the legislature by a two-thirds vote and be approved by a majority of the voters to become effective.
REP. OLIVEIRA, REP. GUILLEN TO HAVE FIRST VOTES ON HRJ 29
Muñoz’ HJR 29 is the final measure on the agenda scheduled to be heard by that House panel, a 13-member legislative committee that includes Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, and Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City.
That committee, chaired by Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, will be meeting in Room EXT E2.108 in the Texas Capitol complex. The meeting will begin once the House of Representatives finishes up its work for the day on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
It also will be broadcast live, and the entire session can be viewed online at http://www.house.state.tx.us/
In Texas, as of 2016, there were slightly more women/girls in Texas (12.6 million) than men/boys (12.4 million), according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau (https://suburbanstats.org/
If his proposal makes it out of the Texas Legislature, the wording on the ballot would read: “The constitutional amendment requiring the governor’s appointments to state boards, commissions or other governing bodies of state agencies to reflect the gender composition of the state.”
Muñoz said the time has come for Texas to build on its international reputation as a leader for all people.
“I believe Texas is ready to take this remarkable step forward in democracy, and in doing so, show the world what we are doing to make sure that women are equal to men in legal, political and social rights,” said Muñoz.
Women are underrepresented on most state boards and commissions which require gubernatorial appointees, and many of the state agencies they help lead have annual operating budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars, up to $10 billion and even higher.
GOV. ABBOTT 2014 ELECTION DAY PROMISE: “…KEY APPOINTMENTS THAT REFLECT THE DIVERSITY OF OUR GREAT STATE…”
“I encourage Gov. Abbott to support my plan because it affects his office specifically, but more important, it is the right thing to do,” said the House District 36 lawmaker.
Abbott recalled that on Election Night in November 2014, Abbott said “I made a promise to the people of Texas that I would begin work immediately to keep Texas the beacon of opportunity and the best state in the United States of America.”
The governor pledged that he “would fight for all Texans, I would unite our great state with key appointments that reflect both the geography and the diversity of our great state. Texans from every corner of the state need to feel that they are a part of the state’s leadership, that they are coauthors of our future.”
“My duties as a state lawmaker include searching out and recognizing bold ideas from the people of Texas, and helping transform their vision into the laws of the land,” said Muñoz. “I happen to also agree with the famous remarks by Sen. Robert Kennedy: “‘Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?’ This is my inspiration for all legislation.”
Kennedy’s timeless comments came on March 18, 1968 during his speech at the University of Kansas.
Kennedy credited George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, for the quote.
Muñoz said his proposal is not a quota, which favors one group at the expense of another.
“Under this plan, a majority, in this case, men, would not lose out to a minority – women – because the population of Texas is, and most likely will always be, about half men and half women,” Muñoz said. “Any Texas governor would find no problem whatsoever finding women who are very qualified for half of all gubernatorial appointments.”
MOST POWERFUL STATE BOARDS, COMMISSIONS LACKING FAIR REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN
The University of Texas System Board of Regents, which is currently operating under a $17.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2017, has two women and seven men serving on that governing board.
The Texas A&M System Board of Regents, which is currently operating under a $4.4 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2016, has two women and seven men on that governing board.
The Texas Ethics Commission, which is responsible for administering and enforcing laws that require financial disclosures of state lawmakers and legislative employees, has one woman on its eight-member commission.
The Texas Department of Transportation, which has a $23 billion two-year budget, is governed by the five-member Texas Highway Commission, which includes one woman. Only four women have been appointed to this powerful commission since 1993.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, a 10-member board which oversees the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its 2016-17 $719 million budget, has two women serving on that governing panel.
The four-term lawmaker, who serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which shapes the state’s two-year budget (it was more than $209 billion approved by legislators in 2015), said his proposal is consistent with his professional and legislative work.
“I am a champion for women, who make up half of our adult population, with a proven record of promoting equal pay for equal work, and through my leadership roles on the House Appropriations Committee, supported and voted for hundreds of millions of dollars for women’s health care, protecting victims of family violence, and much more,” said Muñoz.
TEXAS CONSTITUTION PROVIDES AUTHORITY FOR POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR
The authority to make governmental appointments is one of the powers given to the Governor of Texas by the state’s constitution.
In 1972, Texas voters had a direct voice on the office of the governor, voting in a statewide election to extend the two-year term, which had first been established by the Texas Constitution of 1876, to the current four-year term, according to the Texas State Historical Association (https://tshaonline.org/
The current four-year term of the governor took effect in 1975, according to TSHA.
According to the governor’s office:
• Most appointments are state officials and members of state boards, commissions and councils that carry out the laws and direct the policies of state government activities;
• Members of task forces that advise the Governor or executive agencies on specific issues and policies; and
• State elected and judicial offices when vacancies occur by resignation or death of the office holder.
Article IV, Section 12 of the Texas Constitution, provides the governor with the power to appoint individuals to the governing boards of more than 200 state boards, commissions, and agencies. Those appointments must receive the approval and consent of the Texas Senate.
Since the appointment power of the governor is provided the the state constitution, it would require the Texas Legislature, when lawmakers return in January 2017 for its five-month regular session, to approve Muñoz’ plan, which would authorize a state constitutional amendment to be decided by voters in a statewide election.
Muñoz’ proposed constitutional amendment and resulting election would have to be approved by two-thirds of the members of the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. Then, more than 50 percent of the vote by the public in a statewide election would be needed to make it law.
LANGUAGE OF THE PROPOSED STATE LAW
House Joint Resolution 29, as it is currently written by Muñoz, follows:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Article IV, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 12A to read as follows:
Sec. 12A. In making any appointment to a state board, commission, or other governing body of a state agency, the Governor shall, to the extent possible, ensure that the gender composition of the board, commission, or governing body reflects the gender composition of this state.
SECTION 2. The following temporary provision is added to the Texas Constitution:
(a) This temporary provision applies to the constitutional amendment proposed by the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, requiring the governor’s appointments to state boards, commissions, or other governing bodies of state agencies to reflect the gender composition of this state.
(b) The adoption of the amendment does not affect the entitlement of a member serving on a state board, commission, or other governing body of a state agency to continue to carry out the functions of the board, commission, or governing body for the remainder of the member’s term. Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, as the terms of the members of the board, commission, or governing body expire or as a vacancy occurs, the governor shall appoint members to the board, commission, or governing body to achieve, as soon as possible, the gender composition prescribed for the board, commission, or governing body by this amendment. This subsection does not prohibit a person who is a member of a state board, commission, or other governing body of A state agency from being reappointed to the board, commission, or governing body as provided by law notwithstanding the effect of that person’s reappointment on the gender composition of the board, commission, or governing body.
(c) This temporary provision expires January 1, 2024.
SECTION 3. This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 7, 2017. The ballot shall be printed to provide for voting for or against the proposition: “The constitutional amendment requiring the governor’s appointments to state boards, commissions, or other governing bodies of state agencies to reflect the gender composition of this state.”
This is a list of all entities to which the Governor makes appointments or nominations.
More detailed information on each entity is available via the Texas Records and Information Locator (TRAIL). TRAIL provides links to most agencies’ background information, web pages, and the text of statutes.
According to Abbott’s office, below is a list categorized by subject matter relating to the board, commissions and agencies which involve gubernatorial appointments.
Economic Development (11)
Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee
Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee
Economic Development Corporation, Texas
Economic Development Stakeholders, Advisory Board of
Economic Incentive Oversight Board
Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program Advisory Board
Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board
Real Estate Research Advisory Committee
Small Business Assistance Advisory Task Force, Office of
University Research Initiative Advisory Board, Governor’s
Workforce Investment Council, Texas
Emergency Services Retirement System, Texas
Employees Retirement System of Texas Board of Trustees
Housing and Community Affairs, Texas Department of
Lease of Texas Department of Criminal Justice Lands, Board for
Lease of Texas Parks and Wildlife Lands, Board for
Municipal Retirement System, Texas
Pension Review Board, State
Public Finance Authority, Texas
Retirement System, Texas County and District
School Land Board
Teacher Retirement System of Texas Board of Trustees
Adult Stem Cell Research Coordinating Board, Texas
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, Texas Council on
Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke, Council on
Correctional Managed Health Care Committee
Diabetes Council, Texas
Emergency Medical Services, Advisory Council on
Health Coordinating Council, Statewide
Health Services Authority Board of Directors, Texas
Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, Task Force on
Medical or Mental Impairments, Adv. Comm. to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on Offenders with
Higher Education (14)
A&M University System Board of Regents, Texas
Education Coordinating Board, Texas Higher
Family Practice Residency Advisory Committee
Midwestern State University Board of Regents
Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board
Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents
Texas Southern University Board of Regents
Texas State Technical College System Board of Regents
Texas State University System Board of Regents
Texas Tech University System Board of Regents
Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents
University of Houston System Board of Regents
University of North Texas System Board of Regents
University of Texas System Board of Regents
Human Services (11)
Aging, Legislative Committee on
Developmental Disabilities, Texas Council for
Disabilities, Governor’s Committee on People with
Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Committee
Homeless, Texas Interagency Council for the
Housing and Health Services Coordination Council
Independent Living Council, State
OneStar National Service Commission
Protect Our Kids Commission
Rehabilitation Council of Texas
2036 Commission, Texas
Arts, Texas Commission on the
Cultural Affairs, Advisory Council on
Emergency Medical First Responders’ Star of Texas Award Advisory Committee
Firefighters’ Star of Texas Award Advisory Committee
Historian, Texas State
Historical Commission, Texas
Historical Records Advisory Board, Texas
Holocaust and Genocide Commission, Texas
Peace Officers’ Star of Texas Award Advisory Committee
Poet Laureate, State Musician and State Artists Committee, Texas
San Jacinto Historical Advisory Board
Women, Governor’s Commission for
Administrative Law Judge, Chief
Improving Outcomes for Juveniles Adjudicated of Sexual Offenses, Task Force on
Indigent Defense Commission, Governing Board of the Texas
Judicial Compensation Commission
Judicial Council, Texas
Judicial Districts Board
Non-Criminal Penal Laws, Commission to Study
Procurement Advisory Council, Statewide
Real Estate Broker Lawyer Committee, Texas
Specialty Courts Advisory Council
Timothy Cole Exoneration Commission
Uniform State Laws, Commission on
Natural Resources (31)
Angelina and Neches River Authority Board of Directors
Brazos River Authority Board of Directors
Coastal Water Authority Board of Directors
Colorado River Authority, Central
Colorado River Authority, Lower
Colorado River Authority, Upper
Drought Preparedness Council
Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District
Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council, Texas
Guadalupe River Authority, Upper
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Board of Directors
Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority Board of Directors
Gulf of Mexico Program Citizens Advisory Committee
Lavaca-Navidad River Authority
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission
Neches River Municipal Water Authority Board of Directors, Upper
Neches Valley Authority Board of Directors, Lower
Nueces River Authority Board of Directors
Oil and Gas Regulation and Cleanup Fund Advisory Committee
Red River Authority of Texas Board of Directors
Red River Boundary Commission
Red River Compact Commission
Rio Grande Compact Commission
Rio Grande Regional Water Authority
Sabine River Authority Board of Directors
Sabine River Compact Administration
San Jacinto River Authority Board of Directors
Soil and Water Conservation Board, State
Sulphur River Basin Authority Board of Directors
Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology
Trinity River Authority Board of Directors
Public Education (9)
Assessments & Accountability, Texas Commission on Next Generation
Blind and Visually Impaired, Governing Board of the Texas School for the
Communities in Schools Advisory Committee
Deaf, Governing Board of the Texas School for the
Early Learning Council, Texas
Educator Certification, State Board for
Mathematics and Science Advisory Board, Texas Academy of
Mentoring Program Advisory Committee, School District
Special Education, Continuing Advisory Committee for
Public Safety (9)
Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority
Crime Stoppers Council, Texas
Crime Victims’ Institute Advisory Council
Criminal Justice Advisory Council, Governor’s
Emergency Communications, Commission on State
One-Call Board of Texas
Pardons and Paroles, Board of
School Safety Center Board, Texas
Violent Gang Task Force, Texas
Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Texas
Animal Health Commission, Texas
Credit Union Commission
Finance Commission of Texas
Fire Protection, Texas Commission on
Forensic Science Commission, Texas
Funeral Service Commission, Texas
Galveston County Ports, Board of Pilot Commissioners for
Houston Authority of Harris County, Texas Port of
Industrialized Building Code Council, Texas
Insurance, Commissioner of
Jefferson and Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners
Law Enforcement, Texas Commission on
Lottery Commission, Texas
Manufactured Housing Board
Public Utility Commission of Texas
Racing Commission, Texas
Radiation Advisory Board
Securities Board, State
Sex Offender Treatment, Council on
Small Business Compliance Assistance Advisory Panel
Workers’ Compensation, Commissioner of
Accountancy, Texas State Board of Public
Acupuncture Examiners, Texas State Board of
Appraisal Management Companies Advisory Committee
Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board, Texas
Architectural Examiners, Texas Board of
Chiropractic Examiners, Texas Board of
Counselors, Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional
Dental Examiners, State Board of
Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee
Engineers, Texas Board of Professional
Geoscientists, Texas Board of Professional
Judicial Conduct, State Commission on
Land Surveying, Texas Board of Professional
Marriage and Family Therapists, Texas State Board of Examiners of
Medical Board District Four Review Committee, Texas
Medical Board District One Review Committee, Texas
Medical Board District Three Review Committee, Texas
Medical Board District Two Review Committee, Texas
Medical Board, Texas
Medical Radiologic Technology, Texas Board of
Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee
Nursing, Texas Board of
Occupational Therapy Examiners, Texas Board of
Optometry Board, Texas
Pharmacy, Texas State Board of
Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners, Executive Council of
Physical Therapy Examiners, Texas Board of
Physician Assistant Board, Texas
Plumbing Examiners, Texas State Board of
Podiatric Medical Examiners, Texas State Board of
Private Security Board, Texas
Psychologists, Texas State Board of Examiners of
Real Estate Commission, Texas
Respiratory Care, Texas Board of
Social Worker Examiners, Texas State Board of
Veterinary Medical Examiners, State Board of
State Oversight (32)
Cemetery Committee, State
Criminal Justice, Texas Board of
Education, State Commissioner of
Environmental Quality, Texas Commission on
Ethics Commission, Texas
Facilities Commission, Texas
Health and Human Services, Executive Commissioner of
Information Resources, Department of
Injured Employee Public Counsel
Inspector General for Health and Human Services
Insurance Counsel, Office of Public
Jail Standards, Commission on
Justice Commission, Texas Access to
Juvenile Justice Advisory Board
Juvenile Justice Board, Texas
Library and Archives Commission, Texas State
Licensing and Regulation, Texas Commission of
Military Preparedness Commission, Texas
Motor Vehicles Board, Texas Department of
Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors, Texas
Ombudsman for State Supported Living Centers, Independent
Parks and Wildlife Commission
Preservation Board, State
Public Safety Commission
Public Utility Counsel, Office of
Risk Management Board
Sex Offender Management, Governing Board of the Office of Violent
Transportation Commission, Texas
Veterans Commission, Texas
Veterans’ Land Board
Water Development Board, Texas
Workforce Commission, Texas
Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, has served in the Texas Legislature since 2011 and represents all or parts of the cities of Hidalgo, Granjeño, McAllen, Mission, Palmview and Pharr. His Capitol office is located at CAP 4S.4 in the Texas Capitol, and may be reached at (512) 463-0704. His District Office is located at 121 E. Tom Landry, Mission, and may be reached at (956) 584-8999.