New Texas Laws 2011 – Really?

Redneck fishing? It says a lot about a legislative session when the most talked-about bill concerned etiquette for catching catfish.
By the numbers, the Texas 82nd Regular Session was average – 5,796 bills filed, 1,379 passed, 24 vetoed, one lawsuit already filed to declare a bill unconstitutional. It took a special session sparked by a Ft. Worth novice’s last-minute filibuster to pass the state budget, which postponed most of the painful cuts until the 83rd Session.
The special interest groups are still assessing the damage. They needn’t bother: we Texans know that every two years our lives will be upended with new laws that are controversial, contradictory and sometimes just plain weird.
Consider these:
Drivers can’t text and email while driving a car.
You know how you wanted to run for the board of directors of a sewer service corporation? Sorry, you aren’t eligible if you are a felon or the Court has ruled that you are mentally incapacitated.
You can’t fly into low earth orbit on a commercial space launch unless you sign a waiver of liability.
A crisis in sportsmanship: Fraud in a fishing tournament is now a third degree felony.
Photo Identification is required to vote. Because this is Texas, a concealed handgun permit is considered one acceptable form of ID.
Every 30 days you can import into Texas a case of malt beverages, 3 gallons of wine and 1 gallon of distilled spirits. You have to personally accompany them, you can’t be intoxicated at the time, and you have to pay for the required tax stamps. No word on how you are supposed to get the tax stamps – maybe they are considering a border patrol at the red river?
Obviously “concealed carry” wasn’t working for the guys in swim bikinis. It’s now okay to carry a gun in a boat.
It’s a defense to receiving “sexting” if you immediately delete the text. The word “immediately” is not defined.
Texas courts have adamantly held that a landowner does not owe a duty to a trespasser. This is known as common-law. The legislature decided to formalize it as a statute. This is known as legislative distrust of the judiciary.
A hit and run on shrubbery or flowers is a Class C misdemeanor.
Among the protective orders that can be issued in a family law case: not harming pets.
Students cannot be paddled in school unless their parents give permission.
Incense that meets the definition of synthetic cabbaninoid is outlawed. If you don’t recognize “cabbaninoid”, here’s a hint: K2, Spice, Fire & Ice, or Genie.
If you have a concealed weapon license and you work for private employer, then you can bring your gun to work. Just leave it locked in your car in the parking lot.
Remember that law forbidding the purchase of incandescent light bulbs? It doesn’t apply to light bulbs made in Texas.

It’s illegal to sell your eye in Texas.
Criminals are required to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed.
There was an ethics opinion that held that meals, transportation and lodging had to be reported as political contributions. The legislators, Democrat and Republican alike, responded quickly and forcefully and outlawed the ethics opinion. The Governor was equally diligent and did not veto the bill. Afterwards they all went out and celebrated at a five star restaurant, paid for by the oil lobby.
“Choose Life” license plates are authorized. Apparently without irony, the Legislature gave some entities the right to raise speed limits to 75 miles an hour.
Lamesa is the Legendary Home of the Chicken-fried Steak.
And for those still wondering about catching catfish, it’s called “noodling” and is legal. Not to be confused with shooting catfish or blowing them out of the water: that’s a bill for the next legislature to work out.