Two weeks ago the Office of the Attorney General of Texas weighed in on the recent controversy regarding the speakership of the Texas House. For 99.99 percent of Texans, that issue is about as exciting as watching the grass turn brown. But in the course of the ruling, the AG’s office offered an interesting note. The ruling states, “We presume that the Legislature never does a useless act.” You can almost hear the laughter, can’t you?

Not to disagree legally with the learned staff of the Attorney General, but we’ve compiled just five examples of silly legislation the Legislature took up during the last Session.

No Running. Senate Bill 971 authorized the State Department of Health Services establish voluntary pool safety recommendations for one-family and two-family residences. We are apparently free to voluntarily ignore this regulation, for now. It passed the State Senate 27 to 4.

Potty Mouth. Another one that should have been flushed, House Bill 416 requires business owners to allow certain persons to use their restroom facilities. It’s a clear violation of private property rights. So, of course, it passed the House 113 to 32.

Nannies-R-Us. At least this went up in smoke, but House bill 9 was the ultimate nanny state feel-good maneuver. It would have stripped private property owners and business owners of their right to decide if smoking, a lawful activity, is allowed in their establishments. An outrageous assault on private property rights, it passed by a vote of 92 to 52.

Free-and-Reduced Cars. It’s not enough to transfer wealth through lax welfare rules. No, Senate Bill 12 expanded the cash giveaway program known as the “Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance, Retrofit, and Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Program,” or LIRAP. The name says it all. Taxpayers got run over by the House 145 to 0, and the Senate side-swiped us 30-to-zip.

Turn Off Your Water. The Legislature is going to spend up to $9 million on a new advertising program to encourage water conservation, thanks to House Bill 4. Thought advertising for the Lottery and Trans-Texas Corridor was bad? Just wait until we get water facets dancing to catchy jingles. Taxpayers were drowned by a unanimous Senate vote. In the House, only State Rep. Wayne Christian thought the taxpayers should be given a life jacket; the rest voted to soak our wallet.

 

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”

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