Whether it’s concerning taking public office, the song of the state flower, or eyes, there are plenty of odd laws still standing in Texas. We’ve put together some top laws that will wake you wonder why they exist, if not bring out a laugh or two.
Song of the State Flower
You may not have even been aware this existed, but under Acts 1933, 43rd Leg., p. 930, H.C.R. No. 24. The Bluebonnet song is the State Flower Song for our state flower.
To hold public office in Texas, you must acknowledge the existence of some kind of Supreme Being under the Texas Constitution (Article 1, Section 4). This may sound ironic and contradictory as it is in the same article stating no religious test shall ever be required for public office and one may not be excluded from public office on account of their religious sentiments.
You may have heard of cloud seeding and weather modification attempts. However, going a step further, added by Acts 2001, it is required that there be a program developed to award grants to groups pursuing both weather modification and control.
Under 48.02. Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Organs, you may not traffic, buy or sell organs in the state of Texas. This law seems rational, as it singles our organs such as the heart, live, lungs, etc. Oddly they also forbid the sales of an eye in particular. It is perfectly legal though to sell and purchase blood.
Under Chapter 43 of Public Indecency, subchapter B on obscenity, it concerns almost any sexual materials (defined as anything that can arouse interest) such as devices. The law concerns owning devices that promotes sexual arousal, particularly a device with a largely female consumer base. Owning six or more obscene devices or similar articles can result in being charged with a felony. It doesn’t matter if they’re unused; simply possession is enough to be charged. This might seem odd for several reasons. An example might be the lack of ability to administer and enforce, as police aren’t breaking down your door to check the bedroom drawers.
Wire cutters may not be carried in the city of Austin. Context might be helpful in understanding why this law first came into place. Back in the cowboy days of the Wild West, the enclosing of private land using newly invented barbed wire prevent cattle from passing through large properties. Cowboys would cut these fences to allow for their cattle to pass, resulting in this law. Next time you’re at South by Southwest or Austin City Limits, be sure not to have wire cutters.
In El Paso, it is illegal to wear a lewd dress in public places under a city ordinance 10.16.090 Public indecency–Accosting females. This includes appearing in disguises, and applies to both men and women. It is also the same ordinance that does not allow public urination, but instead is worded as “no person shall… relieve the calls of nature in any place exposed to the public.”
Blair Carroll is an attorney at Carroll Troberman Criminal Defense in Austin, Texas. The team at Carroll Troberman offers a broad range of criminal defense experience in cases ranging from simple misdemeanors to sexual assault and DUI charges.