I was told that beginning in early childhood, most Texans are taught to “Remember the Alamo,” learn the lyrics to “Deep in the heart of Texas,” and lingo such as “hook em horns” and “guns up.”

I lived there for three years and can attest they are a proud bunch.

One of the most famous quotes attributed to the lone star state is the “don’t mess with Texas” slogan.

Despite being a self-proclaimed cowboy state, the phrase has nothing to do with any response to a physical threat. Although it is said to elicit Texas pride in a whole slew of situations, it is a reference to trash.

The slogan was developed by the Texas Department of Transportation for an anti-littering campaign. Apparently in the early 80’s, Texas was spending $20 million annually on trash pickup.

It is obvious why they might want the rest of us to think it is about something else.

They will not have to worry about trash perception now, because some people are talking about them for completely different reasons. And not in a good way.

 Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott recently signed the state’s most restrictive voting bill into law. One which was met at the door by a flood of lawsuits.

Abbott says the laws were necessary to “make it harder for cheaters to cast an illegal ballot.”

Considering the state’s own election officials have acknowledged that elections in Texas are already secure, you must wonder what the governor is referring to. So far, only two cases of illegal voting have reportedly been brought before the courts.

The law creates new criminal penalties for those who assist voters at the polls or even those who assist people with their mail-in ballots.

It bans drive-thru voting and extended voting hours. Both of which were popular during last year’s election due to the pandemic. It gave folks a way to perform their civic duty while remaining safe.

The bill bans polling places from being open 24 hours yet expands early voting in some smaller counties which tend to vote Republican.

Another provision provides legal protections to partisan poll watchers, who are permitted to observe the election and vote-counting process and to possibly disrupt the swift transfer of election results.

I suppose since legislators in Texas did not like the results or the voter turnout in the state, they have set out to limit the access of some voters.

 All these restrictions will certainly make it harder for some voters to cast a ballot.

Just in case the new voting restrictions were not enough to cause head shaking, they followed up with a new abortion law.

Right now, abortion is legal in all 50 states, but different states have different laws about when a woman can get the procedure.

Texas’ new SB8 limits a provider’s ability to provide abortion care in Texas beyond six weeks of pregnancy. The legislation known as the “fetal heartbeat bill” bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Only this bill comes with a Texas-sized twist.

The law does not allow public officials to enforce the law. It instead allows any private citizen to sue abortion providers, staff at clinics or just someone who drives a patient to receive the procedure.

If these “whistleblowers” are successful in a lawsuit, they can collect at least $10,000 in damages from the defendant plus any legal fees they incurred.

Talk about vigilante justice and placing a bounty on someone’s head. This law is right out of the wild west.

Critics say the law was written to prevent federal judges from striking it down because public officials will not be enforcing it and it would be hard to know whom to sue.

The Supreme Court recently declined to hear an objection to the new law.

The anti-abortion law makes no exception for rape or incest that results in pregnancy.

When questioned about how the new law would impact these victims, Governor Abbott said the state would employ aggressive tactics to “eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.”

Considering that the figures from 2019 show there were 14,656 rapes and attempted rapes reported with only 2210 arrests, he might want to consider some new laws to achieve his goal of elimination.

Perhaps a $10,000 reward for someone who turns them in would help.

Abbott said the law does not force victims of rape or incest to carry a pregnancy to term because they are allowed six weeks to terminate.

Wow, this guy is all heart.

Texas is a beautiful state with lots of great people, but I may need to talk to some of my friends out there about a new cleanup campaign.

Just to let them know that instead of a clean-up, they need a clean-out campaign.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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