Letter to Ivan Stang and Wei R. Doe 22 Oct. 2017Edit
Subject: Ivan and Wei: Since You've Been Away From Texas....
As you haven't lived in Texas since the 21st Century began, we thought we'd help you catch up.
Since you've been away from Texas:
You have to show a government photo ID to vote in Texas. Wait, it changed, so no, you don't. Wait, it changed again, so yes, you do. No, it changed again, so no you don't. Wait....
No Democrat has won a statewide election. Not one. (Note we said "statewide.")
After 16 years in office, Rick Perry, the George W. Bush wanna be (i.e. wanna be president in the White House), is no longer governor of Texas. He's currently in the White House trying not to draw too much attention from Donald "You're Fired" Trump (i.e. president in the white house). The current governor is Greg Abbott, a Rick Perry wanna-be (i.e. wanna be governor for 16 years). (Come to think of it, you left Texas about the time Perry got elected, and are coming back now shortly after he left....)
You can drive 85 miles per hour in Texas--sort of. As Texas didn't care about losing millions in highway funds for not keeping the maximum speed down to 70 mph, they made it higher--on one stretch of road (State Highway 130). Who needs federal money?
Everyone's entitled to health insurance, but Texas refuses to accept the federal money to fund it, so many people (including some of us) are out of luck. Who needs federal money?
Possession of marijuana can still get you six+ months in jail in addition to losing your driver license.
Open possession of a gun in now legal with a license in most public places. In Texas, guns don't kill people, marijuana kills people.
It's now illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage while driving--even if a police officer isn't looking (We think. We know that about the time you left, the Texas Driver's Handbook said "It is illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle in a public place observed by a police officer").
As of very recently, it's now illegal to text and drive, and not just in school zones.
Students still get swats in Texas schools, although minorities reportedly get them more often than "whites."
It is now much more common to see a "black" person and a "white" person together. That's not only in schools, but at the same table in a restaurant, living together in the same house, and even married with children.
Women and girls (and men and boys) can still go topless in public in Austin. It's theoretically legal for the state, but check local ordinances. Chances are, the females will get arrested--or at least leered at.
Steve Jackson Games is still dealing out of Austin. Although the company lost money in 2016 for the first time in many years.
You're no longer automatically considered a dealer if you have six or more sex toys, and being a dealer is no longer automatically illegal. (One of us helped fight that after a run-in with the law. It's The Obscene Device Law of 1973 (amended in 2003), and a U.S. District judge declared it to be "facially unconstitutional and unenforceable" in 2008).
Same-sex marriage was outlawed by the state constitution but is now legal (if not generally accepted) in Texas, as it is in all of the United States--at least for right now. (Check your current Supreme Court membership listings).
Texas still recognizes two NFL footballs teams: the Dallas Cowboys and everybody else. (In the Houston area, you might see the Houston Texans, but they're the only NFL franchise that's never played in a conference championship game, so they don't count outside of Houston.)
An agricultural exemption can make your property taxes much, much cheaper if you have 5 or more acres. This can include dealing in timber, cattle, horses, bees, and more (but not marijuana).
Hanging is no longer listed as a penalty for stealing a horse (according to a law enforcement officer we know). We aren't too sure about stealing a cow, though.
In rural areas of north central Texas (which includes some of us), skunks are really active right now. One of us opened the backdoor this week and immediately started coughing from serious skunk stink. Another saw three dead skunks this week within about 15 miles of road.
Texas went into a terrible drought followed by terrible flooding. Both are largely over--for now.
Tornadoes and hurricanes are still bad.
Yours in Texas,
22 October 2017