originate the basic language of Section 1220. It’s there in Vernon’s Penal Code already, in Volume 2A at page 462, but it just legalizes men killing men, not women, women. The Observer did not raise with Bass the question why it was not unequal treatment of the sexes to legalize men killing men but not women, and women killing women but not men. Events moved too rapidly, and the moment passed when Rep. Bass might have immortalized himself by giving his answer, as the sponsor of H.B. 367, to the question. Don’t women and men have an equal right to kill men and women, respectively? REP. BASS’ CAMPAIGN for women’s rights began with a hearing before the House judiciary committee on his and the Texas Business and Professional Women’s Clubs’ bills to straighten out other uneven treatment of the sexes in Texas law. In Texas at present a husband can get a divorce if he proves his wife committed one act of adultery, but, as Mrs. Tobolowsky summarized the law for the legislators, before a wife can get a divorce on grounds of adultery, she “must prove that her husband has deserted her to live with another woman.” The few other states that legalized similar distinctions have repealed them, Mrs. Tobolowsky said, “leaving Texas the only state in the union with a double standard for divorce.” Rep. R. L. ‘Vale of San Antonio asked her if, under the proposed change, “just one act by either the husband or the wife would be sufficient.” That was correct, she said. Rep. Vale looked a little surprised and said no more. Rep. Cameron Hightower, of Liberty, ventured a more daring question. Why, he asked, could the law not achieve equal rights by turning it the “other way around” and requiring, as a basis for a divorce action, that either the man or the woman have left home to live with another. “That would be equal rights,” Mrs. Tobolowsky said, “but it still is a violation of the Ten Commandments.” Rep. Hightower had no further questions. “Do you think,” Rep. Temple Dickson of Sweetwater asked Mrs. Tobolowsky, “that the violation of any of the Ten Commandments should be grounds for divorce?” She did not know about that, and Rep. Dickson did not pursue his question. Rep. W. H. Miller of Houston permitted himself a smile, but only to himself. Mrs. Modell Scruggs, the president of the Clubs, spoke briefly in support of the change, which she said would take Texas “out of the horse and buggy days.” Rep. Dickson had another puzzler for his colleagues: Would this bill apply to adultery as legally defined, “or actual capture?” Rep. Joe Shannon of Fort Worth cleared this up, explaining, “There are a lot of things that can go to prove adultery without actual eyeball testimony.” After Clint Small, the president-elect of the State Bar, briefly endorsed the bill and two others Bass had that daySmall explaining that while the Bar was opposed to the equal rights for women constitutional amendment, it was keeping its word with the ladies that it would support removing specific legal discriminationsthe committee approved the bill. Bass’ second bill would let ;women be exempted from jury duty if their husbands are on the same panel, as the present law lets men be exempted if their wives are on the panel. Mrs. Tobolowsky and Hightower agreed that the exemption of mothers with children under 16 should be extended to men with children under 16, too, but this idea, that all parents of children under 16 should be exempt from jury duty, was not explored further. The judiciary committee approved the jury exemption bill but subcommitteed Bass’ proposal to let anyone who owns property render it for taxation or appoint an agent to do this. THE OLD SUPREME COURT room in the Capitol was the scene of the House criminal jurisprudence committee’s hearing on what the UPI, with its penchant for sensationalism that goes back to its origins in the traditions of William Randolph Hearst, called “the equal right to murder bill.” The legislators were arrayed along the two-tiered judicial bar, repressing sniggers as best they could, trying to take their leads from their somber, sober-miened chairman, Dudley Mann of El Paso. Although nobody volunteered a translation, it seemed fitting that “Sicut patribus, sit Deus nobis”* had been carved, for the days when Justice Itself here convened, across the face of the highest bar, and the motto painted in gold. Bass told the Observer that a venerable Texas soldier-statesman of early times, a hero who, ih this report, shall be nameless, although he is not in the gossip of the House, “put this law on the books because of personal reasons. He had a wife that was bad about this, and he passed this law, and after he passed this law she ran off with an Indian.” An early interpretation of Article 1220, “The words ‘taken in the act of adultery,’ as used in this article, do not mean that in order to avail himself of the protection given by said article, and justify a homicidal act, the husband should be an actual eyewitness to the physical act of coition between his wife and the person slain; but it will be sufficient if he sees them in bed together, or leaving that position, or in certainty to a rational mind that they had such a position as indicates with reasonable just then committed the adulterous act, or were about to commit it. . . . When adultery is an issue, it may be established by circumstantial evidence, and though a mistake as to the fact of adultery may possibly exist, yet ‘if a person laboring under a mistake as to a particular fact shall do an act which would otherwise be criminal, he is guilty of no offense, provided it be such a mistake as does not arise from want of proper care on his part.’ .. . In other words, a person may always act upon reasonable appearances, and his guilt It means “May God be with us as with our fathers,” according to the Latin teacher, Sarah Payne. depends upon the reasonableness of the appearances judged of from his own standpoint. . . . Adultery, as used in the preceding article, is ecclesiastical, and not statutory adultery, and to justify a homicide under said article, the defendant need not show that adultery, as defined by Art. 499 of this Code, was committed, but it will be sufficient if he show a single defilement of his marriage bed. . . .” A review of other cases, summarized in Vernon’s Penal Code, provides these further illuminations of the Texas law; The husband is not justified in killing his wife if he finds her in adultery \(four cases, two in 1926, one in 1927, another in does not forfeit his privilege of escape, nor does he wholly forfeit the right to defend showed the killing was motivated, not by alleged adultry, but otherwise, and it was signed confession that he shot his wife because he found her in flagrance delicto, testified he shot at his wife’s companion and accidentally hit her, but what happened to this former husband is not shown was held that “A husband was justified in shooting his wife when she was detected by him in an’ act of adultery, and where defendant claimed that the shooting of his March 19, 1965 11 LET’S FACE IT LP gas, or “liquefied petroleum gas,” was once largely butane gas in Texas so the name “butane” stuck. Today the petrochemical plants take most all the butane gas, while some is used for blending in gasoline. So the market product called LP gas is almost pure propane gas. A gallon of LP gas weighs 4.23 pounds. Gasoline weighs 5.3 pounds per gallon. If we were taxing fuels by the pound, let’s say a cent a pound, then a gallon of LP gas would pay about 4 cents tax and a gallon of gasoline about 5 cents. There is less substance in the gallon of LP gas, less matter. What is more pertinent is that LP gas has less heating value \(“stored or truck a shorter distance than a gallon of gasoline. Gasoline will average 125,000 British thermal units of heat content per gallon, against 92,000 Btu per gallon of LP gas. Even pure butane has only 104,000 Btu per gallon. Again we have a ratio of 5 for gasoline to 4 or less for LP gas. Let’s face it. We tax the LP gas user the full gasoline tax, but he gets a short gallon of fuel. We can not change Mother Nature, so let’s change the tax. R. N. Jones, 3002 Dutton, Dallas
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