SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — Old laws can give us a glimpse into what life was like not so long ago.
Texas statues have a long and sometimes complicated history. The first printed copy was made in 1854, according to the Texas A&M School of Law. New versions of the statutes were published in 1895 and 1911 to stay up to date with the time. By 1963, the Texas Legislature created the Office of the Code Revisor, which was tasked with cleaning up Texas’ statutes to remove and update old terminology and leave room for expansion.
As time has passed, some old Texas laws have been revised, while a few still sit on the books. Other so-called laws Texans talk about are just myths.
We took a look at some of the strangest laws supposedly on the books in Texas, to see which ones are real and which are fake.
#1. Selling your organs
This one seems like a “no brainer,” but according to the Texas Penal Code Section 48.02, it’s against the law to sell human organs, including eyes, hearts, kidneys, livers, lungs, skin and other organs or tissues. You are allowed to sell blood and hair, however.
Those who commit this crime are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and convictions could result in up to a year in jail and/or fines up to $4,000.
Just on the off chance you were thinking about purchasing organs, this old Texas law still applies.
#2. Going barefoot in public
Although “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” may sound like a great way to live, certain businesses in Texas won’t allow walking around barefoot. This is usually because they want to maintain sanitation and the appearance of the business.
But is there any law against going barefoot in Texas? The barefoot community should not be too concerned. According to The Barefoot Alliance, there are no federal or state laws in the United States that prohibit you from going barefoot in public places.
However, individual businesses and governmental facilities also may set their own dress codes and reserve the right not to serve a person who doesn’t comply.
#3. Is it illegal to be in possession of the Encyclopedia Britannica collection?
We have all seen them on library shelves, or even flipped through the pages reluctantly, but did the state of Texas outlaw owning the Encylopedia Britannica books?
Urban legend says owning the encyclopedia set is illegal because one volume contains the recipe for making beer. While the thought is a little humorous, this particular Texas “law” is just a myth. It is unclear how or why it was started in the first place.
Currently, according to the law, one can homebrew only 200 gallons of alcoholic beverage per year. No license is required if the brewer complies with all the rules mentioned in the statute.
#4. Drinking more than three sips of beer while standing
Everything is bigger in Texas, but do you need to keep your sips small in the town of LeFors, where it may be illegal to take more than three drinks (sips or swallows) of a beer while standing up?
A few online articles say yes, but after scouring LeFors’ laws and ordinances, there is no mention of this supposed law. It is unclear how or why this rumor started, but it may have something to do with standing while intoxicated. Historical museums surrounding LeFors also had not heard of this “law” previously.
#5. Don’t eat your neighbor’s garbage…without permission
You read that correctly. Although there is not much context on why some places report this is illegal in Texas, we had to ask if it is really banned to “dig into your neighbor’s trash for food”?
This law would fall under any state or city ordinances regarding dumpster diving or trash picking. While we could not find a place where the law mentioned eating trash specifically, you can still be charged with trespassing and property theft for attempting to dig in your neighbor’s trash. Raccoons are asked to take note.