The ‘Lone Star State’ is no stranger to peculiar laws. For instance, there is a law involving the historic Alamo Mission Church in San Antonio that was enacted as a result of the actions of the famed rockstar, Ozzy Osbourne.
The Alamo plays a significant part in Texas history; it is at this site in 1836 that a small contingent of Texan soldiers stood their ground against an invading Mexican army led by General Santa Anna. The Mexicans beat and killed all Texan soldiers defending the church. Their death galvanized Texas residents against the Mexican army and a month later a charged Texan army fought to victory over Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. The Texans rallied to the cry of “Remember the Alamo!” during the battle. A memorial was built at the Alamo to honor the fallen heroes.
But in 1982, a drunk Ozzy Osbourne (dressed in a skirt) did the unthinkable when he took a pee on a historic cenotaph at the site. This angered the Texan community and the state authority enacted a law banning Osbourne from the Alamo and prohibited people from ‘relieving’ themselves at the site.
We’ve compiled a list of eight more weird laws from the state of Texas. Some of these laws were created in the early 1800s and 1900s (when they made more sense) – and were just never changed, while others have been revised to fit with the times.
1. To hold a seat in public office, you must acknowledge the existence of a supreme being
According to Section 4 of the Texas Bill of Rights, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being.”
2. City employees must observe road rules, just like everyone else
In the city of Harker Heights in Bell County, drivers of all vehicles owned or operated by the United States, the state of Texas, or any county, town, district, or any other political subdivision of the state should observe all city road laws.
3. Don’t leave your keys in the ignition
Under Texas statutes, a person may not leave a vehicle unattended without stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, setting the parking brake effectively and, if standing on a slope, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
4. Spittoons for everyone
In the city of El Paso, there is an edict that requires all churches, hotels, halls of assembly, stores, markets, banking rooms, railroad depots, and saloons are required to provide spittoons of a kind and number to efficiently contain expectorations into them.
When starting a business in Texas, you need to understand the rules that the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Texas and how to find a great registered agent in Texas can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.
5. Owning a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica is against the law.
It wouldn’t occur to anyone that owning a harmless set of literature, like the books making up the Encyclopedia Britannica, would be deemed illegal. But in Texas, one eagle-eyed legislator realized that one of the books contained a formula for making beer at home, which is illegal in the state. Therefore, the state legislature voted to ban the set of books.
6. Don’t put wire-cutters in your pockets
Back during the days of the ‘Wild West’, cowboys in what is now the city of Austin, used to carry around wire-cutters to cut barbed-wire fences of property owners in order to allow their cattle herds to pass through. The local authority was forced to pass an ordinance prohibiting the use of wire-cutters after an outcry from Austin residents.
7. Asking for a job is prohibited
According to Texas Penal Code § 38.12, “a person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit, the person solicits employment, either in person or by telephone, for himself or for another.”
8. You can legally marry someone by stating it out loud
In Texas, you can legally marry someone if you publicly proclaim that the person is your husband or wife three times. The only requirements (from the state) are that both parties must be at least 18 years old, unmarried, and not related to each other.