Tidbits and Texas Laws

I thought it’d be fun to look at some of the laws that are still on the books today.  Here are a few interesting ones I found in my file.  All are Texas laws and I added the town or area of Texas it’s applicable to. Many are statewide and I’m sure some have been amended.

• Temple, Texas: Cattle thieves may be hanged on the spot. No one may ride a horse and buggy through the town square, but they can ride their horse in the saloon.

• The capital of Texas, Austin: Wire cutters cannot be carried in your pocket.

• San Antonio, Texas: It is illegal for both sexes to flirt or respond to flirtation using the eyes and/or hands. It is also illegal to urinate on the Alamo.

• Texarkana: Owners of horses may not ride them at night without tail lights.

• It is illegal to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. It’s illegal to milk another’s cow.

• In Kingsville, there is a law against two pigs having sex on the city’s airport property. Why just the city’s airport property? Don’t ask me!

• It’s illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster. 

• In El Paso, 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.

• In other parts of Texas you can’t land an airplane on the beach, throw trash from an airplane, or inhale fumes from model glue, not to mention you must obtain permission from the director of parks and recreation before getting drunk in any city park. This is where “Don’t Mess With Texas” comes in loud and clear!

• Texas is a common law state, so you can be legally married by publicly introducing a person as your husband or wife three times. So my advice to you, be careful what you say when you have your snoot full in a Texas honky tonk.

• Port Arthur: Obnoxious odors may not be emitted while in an elevator.

Some of these laws have been changed or strengthened, especially involving drinking and driving, while some like having wire cutters in your pocket or shooting buffalo from a second floor window of a hotel remains in full force and effect. So every time I look at the new Marriott being built, I wonder if they’ll add that law to the notice they put on the inside of your hotel room? I might just have to call them and find out.

But the best law of all: A cowman cannot tuck his pants into one boot unless he owns ten or more head of cattle. I have no idea what the purpose of this law might have been. Do you?

Are there any old laws that are unique to your part of the country that you’d like to share with us today?


To one lucky reader who leaves a comment, I’ll give them their choice of an eBook or an autographed book of my newest Kasota Springs Romance Out of a Texas Night.


Website | + posts

A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com

35 thoughts on “Tidbits and Texas Laws”

  1. Good morning Phyliss- I love these, many I knew but a few I did not. I laughed about the pigs at the airport or shooting s buffalo from a two story window. Thanks for sharing. Our Texas laws are strong, maybe other states should adopt some. I’ve always heard about the pants tucked in the boots, too. I’m like you, not sure what it really means unless it’s a way to tell a large rancher from a small one way back when. Love and hugs from KS.

      • Hi Marina, so happy you read my blog and took time to leave a comment. I love the old laws, too; and like you, wonder the reasoning behind them. I bet you’ve got some in South Caroline that are unique. I think all states do. You have a wonderful day, too. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Miss Tonya, good to hear from you. I’m like you, there are some of the laws I was familiar with but others kinda shocked me. One of my favorite is the pigs at the airport and my second favorite is shooting buffalos. I’d heard of that one. The pants in the boots, like you, I’m not sure what it signifies but it’s interesting. I know in this part of Texas we look at boots to see if they are drug store cowboys are real ones. True cowboys have muddied up, well worn boots whether they are dressed to the nines or working, while new fresh not very worn boots are a sign of just a guy (maybe he is a cowboy) but not on a working ranch. Take care of yourself, and a big hug and much love from Texas.

    • Hi Tonya, I don’t know what I did wrong, but my comments back to you are a comment below. So sorry, but then I’m not computer literate! LOL Hugs, P

  2. The craziness of old laws can be hilarious. I lived in El Paso for many years and my my father was a cattle broker that dealt cattle in the United States and Mexico as well as partnered in feedlots on both sides of the border. I was around a lot of cowboys, our office in the beginning was next to famous top dollar hotel in downtown El Paso, we ate out and entertained a lot in various establishments. I was in my late teens and early twenties back then and frequented many different types of places and I do not recall ever seeing a spittoon except in our own home and offices. Lol

    A couple Texas laws still on the books:

    1. A recently passed anticrime law requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed. (Obviously most criminals don’t know this is a law!)

    2.Homosexual behavior is a misdemeanor offense. (I’m surprised I haven’t been hearing about this and that there hasn’t been riots and protests!)

    3. When two trains meet each other at a railroad crossing, each shall come to a full stop, and neither shall proceed until the other has gone. Hmmmm

    Fun blog! I already have a signed copy of your book!

    • Hi Stephanie. Good to hear from you. I bet your father had/has many, many stories to tell. It’s great that you were a part of his career and can remember so much about feedlots and cattle. I absolutely love your #1 law. So funny. I can’t even imagine it still being on the books, but since I originally came from the legal field, can sure see how it’d be used in a court room. I’d heard about the railroad crossing, but had forgotten. Glad you enjoyed the blog, and you know, if I draw your name out of that ol’ Stetson, you’ll get a gift even if it isn’t a book. Have a wonderful day, my friend. Big hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Estella, thank you for reading my blog and leaving a comment. I bet you’ve got strange laws, ’cause I figure most states do. It’d be fun to research if you ever have the time and it’s something you’re interested in. Again, thanks for dropping by P&P. A big Texas hug to you.

    • Hi Melanie, so glad to see you here. Thanks, I enjoyed pulling my blog together and it always makes us feel good when we know the reader liked it. Oh yes, Texas Our Texas … no where else but Good Ol’ Texas. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Teresa, so good to hear from you. I’m happy you enjoyed the blog. Yes, we gotta love our Texas. Take care of yourself and a big Texas hug.

    • Hi Glenda. Happy to see you and thanks for leaving a comment. Some are really funny, aren’t they. Glad they made you laugh. You have a fabulous day. A big hug to you.

  3. Oh, wow, thank you for the laughs!! My favorite is that horses need tail lights!!! I don’t think FL has any like this, but I may have to check it out!

    • Hi Trudy. Good to hear from you. I have to agree that I was rather perplexed with the tail lights on the horses law. I can’t imagine. At first I thought it meant, if the horse was drawing a buggy the buggy had to have lights, but then when I reread it that’s not what it said. I’m still scratching my head. You never know, I might look into Florida laws and write a blog one day! Take care and have a blessed day. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Caryl, so glad you left a comment. Yep, only in Texas would such laws still exist and some are probably still enforced. Thank goodness that we don’t have any wild buffalo in our downtown area, so our law enforcement folks doesn’t have to watch for shooters from the second floor and remind them they can shoot from the ground floor only. Of course, Buffalo is now a protective species. Take care of yourself. Big hugs.

  4. These are so crazy and fun, Phyliss! My favorite is this one: “Texarkana: Owners of horses may not ride them at night without tail lights.” Did they actually have lights they affixed to horses’ tails? Sounds dangerous in the days of kerosene lanterns. Although, maybe this is a more modern law. I did a Google search and found LED horse tail lights that are actually pretty. Much more appropriate. 🙂

    • Hi Sister Filly. So happy you took time to read my blog and leave a comment. I totally agree with the tail lights law. I’ve never heard of taillights being affixed to a horse’s tail, so I’m shrugging my shoulders. I found it so interesting that you located LED horse tail lights! We’ve got a friend here that owns one of the oldest ranches in the Panhandle, so I’ll find out from her what they think about it. Take care of yourself and happy to hear from you. Hugs from one Texan to another.

  5. It probably doesn’t count as too strange of a law, but until just last year you couldn’t buy alcohol on Sundays in Indiana. You’d always see people stocking up the Saturday before the Super Bowl or on the year’s when New Year’s Eve fell on Sunday.

    • Hi Carrie. Good to hear from you. Lady, do I ever know about the Sunday laws. I grew up with them. Now we can buy beer after twelve noon on Sunday, but it’s only been a little over a year since we could even purchase any alcohol in our precinct. Unless a restaurant sold food they couldn’t get a liquor license. All over Texas, liquor stores cannot be opened at all on Sunday, but you can purchase beer and wine at grocery stores. When I was growing up we (Texans) had the “Blue Laws” and no alcohol of any sort could be served throughout the state. Grocery stores couldn’t sell certain items. WalMart wasn’t in existence then and Sam Walton would have never put a store in Texas if the “Blue Law” remained. Certain isles of the stores had their shelves draped over with fabric because they couldn’t sell much of anything that wasn’t food product. As I recall, you could buy thread by not needles and stuff on that line. Even now, a car dealership can only be opened six days a week; so, if they have a Sunday sale they have to close on Saturday or Monday. I’m taking this info from my SIL who worked at a dealership here in Texas, but now owns one in CA, so things might have changed. I just checked with him! LOL Now you know I’m an old lady since I remember the “Blue Laws” of Texas! Have a wonderful evening and a big hug to you. Stock up on that Booze ahead of time for New Year’s Eve! LOL

  6. Oh my. I found a lot of humor in these. Thank you for sharing. It would be so fun to have these, especially the second floor one in the new hotel.

    • Hi Lori. Good to hear from you. I think it’d be funny to write a short story about a hero or heroine who liked to bend the rules and use shooting buffalo from a second story window and they are arrested! My mind is going crazy, but since I’m not writing Western Historical at the moment, I’ll have to save the story idea. I hope you have a wonderful evening and I’m pleased as punch that you enjoyed the humor in my blog. Take care of yourself. Hugs, Phyliss

  7. Pennsylvania is a Common Law state. My brother had a Quaker wedding, aka self-uniting wedding, which to me sounded similar to a Scottish handfasting. They just had to make vows in front of witnesses, no officiant needed, and file paperwork with the County where they were married. You do need a marriage license and a self-uniting license.

    My brother is not Quaker–Pennsylvania recognizes this type of marriage for any couple.

  8. Hi Denise, good to hear from you. Ironically, Texas is also a Common Law state and all you have to do is present yourself as man and wife. You are married for life. I have a friend who didn’t know her parents had never married until after her father passed and her mother applied for his social security. They had lived together, purchased houses, and had children with both of their names on the birth certificate for over 40 years. It was a shoo-in for her to get his social security because of the amount of proof they gave. I didn’t know Pennsylvania is a Common Law state. Your information on a Quaker wedding is interesting and really makes me want to know more about the ritual part of it. Thanks for sharing. Have a great evening, Denise.

  9. My parents were married by a Methodist minister in 1941 because my mom knew my dad’s mom would not accept a Quaker wedding at the meeting house where she and her family were members in Quaker Springs, N.Y.

    Growing up in NY we were told common law marriage took living together for seven years. We had neighbors who were the talk of the community because that’s what they did.

    • Hi Alice. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. The whole Quaker wedding and common law ideas are so interesting. I’ve really got to research it more, just for my own interest. FYI, I was raised Methodist and my DH and I were married in the church 51 years ago this coming November. Thanks for sharing. I’m presuming Quaker Springs, NY’s name has to do with the Quaker community???? Very interesting. Have a great evening, Miss Alice. Hugs, Phyliss

      • Yes the name comes from the Quaker community and a nearby mineral spring very similar in taste and effervescent to those in Saratoga Springs which is only a few miles away. It is also the nearest community to the Saratoga Battlefield National Historic Park.

  10. Phyliss, Here are some crazy Alabama laws:
    Spit on a church floor

    It is illegal to:
    Drive a car without wearing shoes
    Play dominoes on Sunday
    Put salt on a railroad track (punishable by death)
    Place an ice cream cone in your back pocket
    Have a bear-wrestling match
    Wear masks in public
    Drive blindfolded
    Ride a bicycle, roller-skate, skateboard, or inline skate in a commercially zoned area
    Impersonate a member of the clergy
    Make someone laugh by wearing a fake mustache in church
    Chain your alligator to a fire hydrant

    The last one is my favorite. Thanks for the blog. I love hearing about these “unique” laws.

Comments are closed.