Groundhogs in Texas
Groundhog Day is pretty well established in the United States at this point. Every year people gather round to see if the chosen groundhog pops out of his hole and predicts whether we will see Spring soon or have to endure more of the winter cold. Of course, Bill Murray related jokes and memes are also pretty standard accompaniment in today’s world. However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about Groundhog Day and the animal’s prediction as others. While people rejoice when the prediction runs in the favor of Spring arriving, a sign (even a superstitious one not actually based in science) that winter is still going to be around can ruin the celebration. Some people don’t like to hear any news that isn’t good news.
One lawmaker in Texas decided there was an easy way to fix this. In 1949 Texas lawmaker, Representative Lamar A. Zivley, put forth a proposal that would take care of the Groundhog Day question forever. His “simple resolution” involved murdering all of the groundhogs in an effort to be rid of the “much unhappiness and woe” connected to the holiday. Zivley brought forth proposal H.S.R. 37, a resolution designed to encourage and make it legal for all Texans to wage war on groundhogs, their “ground-dwelling oppressors.” Zivley speaks of the people of Texas needing to be ever alert to any groundhog that might be trying to peep its head out of its hole and possibly see its shadow, which will bring further stress after a cold winter. Texans are to “encourage” groundhogs to stay in their holes with any means necessary. He makes the impassioned plea, “[W]e urge our friends in Texas to arm themselves with proper and sufficient equipment, baseball bats and otherwise, to prevent this infamous creature from coming out of his hole and causing further distress and suffering to the people of our State, especially in Central Texas.”
The tongue-in-cheek resolution also included a section calling for Texas to support expansion throughout the state of the Temple-based “Ground Hog Beaters Association.” Not everyone took this bald-faced bit of satire well, with Rep. Phillip L. Willis calling the joke an affront to House procedure. However, when Willis replied that, “This sort of thing is just encouraging more costs,” Zivley simply retorted, “I appreciate your feelings on the economy,” Zivley retorted. “But I’d appreciate it if the House would pass this resolution and end this business.” In the end, the motion was tabled, although the vote was closely contested. Zivley later revealed that it was the editor of The Temple Telegram, Harry Blanding Jr. that enlisted his support in introducing the resolution.
Have you ever come across a law that passed or was considered that is this absurd relating to wildlife or pest control?