Unicycles and feral hogs: former lawmaker unveils his top bill descriptions

Texas Capitol star

March 13, 2017

Having trouble classifying your electric unicycle? Want to identify your deer but don’t want to get it tattooed? The 85th Texas Legislature is here to help. 

Now that the bill filing deadline has passed, former state lawmaker Corbin Van Arsdale on Monday published a list of nominees for the 50 best bill descriptions this session, and competition is tough. 

Van Arsdale started the list in 2013, and in the four years since, he says it now has “a life of its own.” 

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“People will now email me out of the blue, saying, ‘Hey, be sure this is on the list,’ or, ‘Make sure you don’t miss this one,” Van Arsdale said. “Some are excited they’re on the list, and others are terrified it’s gonna be their bill.” 

Whichever gets the “most love” from people around the Capitol, Van Arsdale said, will be crowned the winner Wednesday. 

Van Arsdale served at the Legislature as a Houston-area representative from 2003 to 2009 and is now vice president and general counsel for the Texas branch of Associated General Contractors, a trade association representing parts of the construction industry. 

“Session can be heavy, so it’s nice to have a little lighthearted break,” he said. 

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The top 50 bill descriptions of the 85th legislative session: 

1. Relating to the operation of an electric unicycle 

2. Relating to the taking of certain feral hogs and coyotes using a hot air balloon 

3. Encouraging the President of the United States to refrain from threatening elected officials 

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4. Relating to the regulation of men’s health and safety; creating a civil penalty for unregulated masturbatory emissions 

5. Relating to operating a motor vehicle while another person is occupying the trunk 

6. Relating to the regulation of raising or keeping six or fewer chickens by a political subdivision 

7. Urging Texans not to use the flag emoji of the Republic of Chile when referring to the Texas flag 

8. Relating to the operation of a golf cart or utility vehicle on a public highway in certain counties 

9. Relating to a franchise tax credit for entities that establish a grocery store or healthy corner store in a food desert 

10. Relating to a sales and use tax exemption for certain feminine hygiene products for a limited period 

11. Relating to a study by the Department of Agriculture of the transfer of water from the Mississippi River 

12. Relating to restrictions on the use of certain sprays, Tasers, and stun guns against public school students 

13. Relating to the prosecution of the offense of impersonating a public servant 

14. Relating to the creation of the offense of bestiality 

15. Relating to requiring the review of public school district paperwork to limit paperwork requirements 

16. Relating to a prohibition on the use of certain baseball bats at University Interscholastic League events 

17. Relating to standing in a roadway 

18. Relating to the solicitation of pen pals by certain inmates of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice 

19. Relating to honesty in state taxation 

20. Relating to the issuance of Blessed are the Peacemakers specialty license plates 

21. Relating to the status of powdered alcohol as an alcoholic beverage for purposes of the Alcoholic Beverage Code 

22. Relating to pedestrian use of a sidewalk 

23. Relating to a sales and use tax exemption for child and adult diapers 

24. Relating to the regulation of fantasy games 

25. Relating to a sales and use tax exemption for condoms 

26. Relating to the use of certain weapons in or on the beds or banks of the Canadian River in Potter County 

27. Relating to certain lottery prize winners’ choice to remain anonymous 

28. Relating to the repeal of certain laws regulating the sale or transfer of secondhand watches 

29. Relating to the consent required for the administration of prophylaxis to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum 

30. Relating to taxes imposed on vinous liquor 

31. Relating to registration and regulation of dangerous wild animals 

32. Relating to the prosecution and punishment of the use of benzodiazepines or gamma butyrolactone to facilitate the commission of the offense of aggravated sexual assault and the addition of gamma butyrolactone to Penalty Group 1 

33. Relating to the protection of expressive activities at public institutions of higher education 

34. Relating to protecting freedom of conscience from government discrimination 

35. Relating to the identification of breeder deer by use of microchip implants 

36. Relating to the adoption and implementation of a recess policy by public school districts 

37. Relating to the composition of the combative sports advisory board 

38. Relating to the publication, republication, or other dissemination of mug shots and certain other information regarding the involvement of an individual in the criminal justice system 

39. Relating to a prohibition on the consideration of revenue anticipated to be derived from criminal fines in planning for the state budget 

40. Urging Congress to pass a budget 

41. Relating to increasing the punishment for the offense of abuse of a corpse 

42. Relating to signs required to be posted in the restrooms of sexually oriented businesses 

43. Relating to rules regarding the carcasses of certain birds or animals 

44. Relating to the unlawful restraint of a dog 

45. Relating to the study and approval of lethal pesticides for feral hog control 

46. Relating to ransomware 

47. Relating to the punishment for the offense of theft of cattle, horses, exotic livestock, exotic fowl, sheep, swine, or goats 

48. Relating to the requirement for a mass gathering or outdoor music festival permit 

49. Urging Congress to reduce the amount of paperwork required of teachers by federal law 

50. Proposing a constitutional amendment providing for the recognition of equal rights of all people 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/13/50-nominees-top-caption-85th-session/.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.