Dairy Container Misusers, Oyster Fencers Rejoice: Clean Up Bill Advances In Texas

Txlege UpdateA clean-up bill to repeal 40 previous bills, including some seemingly ridiculous state Penal Code penalties, was passed by the Texas House Monday.

HB 226 author Rep. Matt Krause said his bill, aside from getting rid of some strange provisions, is also in the interest of “removing duplicative penalties, adjusting penalties to match the crime, repealing unfitting criminal penalties, and moving penalties that exist outside of the Penal Code into the Penal Code where they belong.”

Here are a few of the downright odd penalties removed or lessened:

Dairy container mis-use: The bill also repeals offenses “that are outdated and overbearing,” such as the criminal offense for misusing a dairy container such as a butter box or ice cream tub, Krause pointed out.

Pecan thrashing: The bill removes jail time for thrashing pecans from a tree — presumably by use of a pole or rake which could damage the official state tree and its prized product. “While there ought to be a punishment for violating the law, does thrashing pecans from a tree justify jail time?” Krause continued.

Courthouse parking lot ticket misdemeanors: The bill alters the penalty for violating a courthouse parking lot rule in certain counties from a misdemeanor ($1-20 fine) to a more easily forgivable Class C misdemeanor.



Cigarette tax stamp misuse: The bill drops this from a third degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor.

Oyster-fencing: A variety of penalties for underwater hunting with a light, interference with a buoy or fence used to designate or enclose a private oyster bed, night dredging, removing oysters from restricted areas, and various shrimping offenses are lessened.

Floating cabin paperwork:  The bill repeals provisions requiring an applicant for or holder of a floating cabin permit to sign certain documents under penalty of perjury.

Oil tanker paperwork: Messing up paperwork for oil tankers can be a third-degree felony, but the bill moves it to a Class C misdemeanor.

Unauthorized herding ban: The bill lessens the penalty for unauthorized herding and line-riding from a possible three months to two years in the county slammer to a Class C misdemeanor.

Read other proposed changes here.

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