Monday, January 04, 2010

New Laws in Texas: Now They Are Getting Serious

You really have to live in Texas to appreciate what a dysfunctional legislature it has running things, some would say running things into the ground. Now granted, this has a lot to do with the fact that nothing was going to move through the legislature while there was a threat of passing a Voter ID bill, something that did not happen.

Jesus was apparently looking out for Texas, and the legislature failed to pass regressive anti-minority legislation to restrict voter access to the polls. But in doing so, Satan did have his way with Texas as can be attested by a review of some of the new laws that went into effect last Friday.

A veritable cornucopia of laws that corrected vast wrongs across Texan society.

Take for instance the gem that finally, once and for all, bans children under 16 from getting artificial UV rays from tanning beds in Texas tanning salons. A long time in coming, I say. The law even goes further to require children between 16 and 18 years of age to provide parent permission slips.

Or what about that law that requires landlords to provide smoke detectors to alert hearing-impaired tenants (I would guess using light rather than sound) upon their request.

College freshmen entering a Texas public university, and wishing to live in school-provided residences will need to produce proof of vaccination against bacterial meningitis (a law that has been on the books in other states for 2 decades now).

And then there is the new law that requires cigarettes to be “fire-safe” in that they have to go out all by themselves when tossed on the ground by your average careless Texas smoker. My thought is that they should go one step further and make cigarettes sold in Texas completely noncombustible.

Wouldn’t THAT save more than a few lives?

Then there is HB 8, a bad news bill for school districts who typically benefit from annual reappraisals of property values. Those appraisals are now to be every two years, suggesting to me that the rate of appraised property value rise will be even more out of step with the actual resale value of real property.

But I guess everything is relative. We could be living in Ireland, after all, which has a new law on its books that makes Texas look positively like a radical lefty state.

Ireland has a new anti-blasphemy law that went into effect on January 1st. No, you read that correct. Anti-blasphemy.

To wit:

Blasphemy is defined as “publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted.”

So I guess, in Ireland, that guy who drew those cartoons depicting the Blessed Prophet Mohammed as an angry Arab with a bomb in his turban would be brought up on charges, huh?

After all . . .

Atheists in Ireland are all up in arms and have published a list of 25 blasphemies in order to challenge the legality of this law.

But really, the story somewhat ambushed me with an idea that I had not considered before, leaving me to ask this one question:

You mean there are atheists in Ireland?

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