Ever wanted to carry around a machete in public? While this seems like a wild idea, it is one of the many laws Texas lawmakers recently approved in their recent law-passing sessions.
While a handful of these laws have profound meaning behind them such as a statewide texting while driving ban, other laws can leave someone scratching their head and perhaps wondering, “was it really necessary?”
Here, we take a look at three of the most interesting – and perhaps peculiar – laws that will take effect as soon as September 1st. Let’s take a look at them.
Don’t Forget Your Sword
The first law on our list has to do with knives…really big knives, to be exact. Under current law, people are legally allowed to carry knives that do not exceed a length of 5½ inches. However, this will change (for better or for worse, you decide), because state lawmakers approved a law that allows people to carry swords, spears, and bowie knives – yes, you read right, swords and spears – starting this September.
Before getting worried about the potential safety issues that can arise from this, it is important to point out that these weapons will not be permitted in places of worship, amusement parks, bars, schools, and other reserved areas. Also, the new law applies to people who are at least 18 years old; for those who are 17 and under, parental supervision is required to carry long knives.
Referee Triple Check
Another law that goes into effect this September has to do with sport officials and referees who are registered with the University Interscholastic League (UIL).
In a shift from current legal regulations requiring officials to have only one background check, the new law will require officials to have criminal background checks performed every three years.
Check All Boxes, Please
An interesting law related to elections will affect the way Texans now vote. Straight-ticket voting, an electoral process where a voter who wants to vote for only members of a certain political party has that option by checking one box, will now be eliminated starting 2020.
In comparison to the first two laws that were discussed here, this one is interesting because it can shape many aspects of Texas’s political sphere. While it may have been easier to have the option to “select all”, if you will, this new procedure can affect politics because it can:
- Make voters research every political candidate before placing their vote,
- Scatter their votes amongst different parties,
- Give rise to a third mainstream political party, and
- Prevent a candidate from not being elected simply because it falls outside of a certain political thought.
While the political impact of this new law will be seen in the next decade, the effects can already start to be hypothesized.
What Would You Propose?
If you had the power to propose a new law – which you can, just go to your local state representative to get the ball rolling – what would you propose? What is an issue that you feel needs to be addressed, but so far you have not seen anyone take action over it? This is one of many benefits of a democracy: if there is something you don’t like or agree with, tell your elected officials, that’s why they’re there in the first place.