Hey Legislature: What were you thinking?

The 85th Texas Legislature reviewed 1,252 bills during the regular session and those that became laws are going into effect. Some Texans may be shocked.

Gov. Greg Abbottalso called a special legislative session from July 18 through Aug. 15.   

It would be a tedious task to analyze every single bill that was signed by the governor, or those that failed. A few choice laws that made it through make Texans wonder what could have possessed the minds of the elected officials who came up with such nonsense. Most of the bills that passed went into effect Sept. 1

Perhaps the most ridiculous issue taken up by the Legislature was the infamous “bathroom bill.” Who is supposed to determine where transgender folks can go to the bathroom? There is no correct answer, so the bill didn’t even make it to Gov. Abbott’s desk. News flash! We’re sick of hearing about it. Can we just ditch the tasteless topic and more on to significant laws that people care about?

Now here’s a bill that’s near and dear to my heart because I play the lottery (Lottery Winners Can Remain Anonymous, HB 59). It gives lottery winners the special provision to remain anonymous, even if they just win $1. Yippee! I’m overjoyed at this one.

In 2006, I won $30,000 in the Cash Five game (minus $7,000 in taxes), but that’s a long way from $1 million, or the $700 million recently won by a 53-year-old Boston woman. You get the picture. If a winner of $1 million or more takes the prize money in installments, the anonymity option is not available.

After Concealed Carry passed, who would have imagined that “open carry of swords” (HB 1935) would become law? Now, Texans are allowed to carry them, as well as machetes, sabers, spears, foils and knives with blades of more than 5.5 inches long. And it’s fine to carry them into public places.

If my husband and I are sitting in a restaurant and someone walks in with a spear, I’m going to be a little worried. We may just sit near the door next time we eat out.

House Bill 25 is the most annoying and controversial to me. “Elimination of Straight-Party Voting” (HB 25) means that Texans can no longer vote for every candidate in one political party. If there’s anything these lawmakers can do to make your life miserable, they will do it, knowingly or not.

This law doesn’t take effect until the 2020 election, but it may first be headed to court. At least I hope it ends up there.  Voters are going to be very confused otherwise.

For example, if I wanted to vote a straight Republican ticket and had to choose one Democratic candidate at random just to finish the vote and leave, I would not be pleased, especially if the one I accidentally chose was a left-wing progressive. The same confusion goes for Democrats if they happen to choose a far-right conservative.