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Texas’ wacky laws and everlasting myths

Commissioner Cook's Column

  • 19 August 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2268

There’s a resolution declaring May 26 as John Wayne Day for a 10-year period beginning in 2015. Now John Wayne wasn’t born “John Wayne,” never lived in Texas and only two or his 140 movies were filmed in Texas. At the time, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared that the public thinks of John Wayne when they think of Texas – really?

Despite opposing fervor in the Legislature, our senators and representatives do show a bit of Texas humor from time to time. Allegedly, when the bill requiring licensing for concealed handguns passed, a companion mock bill was created requiring licensing for concealed gum. Fortunately for us all, that didn’t go anywhere.

Lastly from the law, in the Commissioners Court, frequently the phrasing “take action on an order declaring an emergency and a grave necessity due to unforeseeable circumstances and approve a budget amendment acknowledging additional expenditures” is heard. 

It sounds so drastic; why do we use those words? The budget is set once a year for all county functions and should be modified only for exceptional circumstances. We must use those tort terms in the phrase to accept contributions like firewood sales in Berry Springs Park, donations to and profits from purchases for the Regional Animal Shelter, or donations to the sheriff’s office. 

Occasionally these budget adjustments are due to unforeseen needs or expenses at the time the budget is set but occur later during the fiscal year of Oct. 1 through Sep. 30. The court must amend the budget to then accept or spend “unbudgeted” money, which modifies the established budget. OK, I agree with you — overkill, but that’s the way it is.

Now to dispense with a few of the highly suspect or downright invalid myths.

First, Texas is not the only state that was initially its own country. California was the California Republic for about three weeks before becoming a state. Its flag is part of the state of California flag today. Secondly, Hawaii was both a kingdom and a republic before becoming a state. Texas can’t beat that. Florida was an independent country named Muskogee. Finally, little Vermont was an independent republic for 14 years before becoming a state.

You can’t pick bluebonnets. Wrong! This applies only to bluebonnets that are not on your property (and state property is not technically “your” property). If you have been given explicit permission by the legal owner of a property to pick them, you may.

In closing, at least not even the benevolent HOA overlords can now prohibit your children from selling lemonade.

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