The Austin Chronicle

Bonus Bill of the Week: My Favorite Waste of Time

By Richard Whittaker, February 4, 2013, 12:35pm, Newsdesk

There are many contenders for worst bill in Texas, but most frivolous is a slightly more rarefied breed. However, right wing think tank Empower Texans has called that foul on an attempt to restore the UT/A&M football rivalry.

Last week, Empower's resident talking head Michael Quinn Sullivan wrote a brief tirade about House Bill 778. The measure by Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, would require the University of Texas and Texas A&M to play an annual, regular season, non-conference game.

The antique rivalry between the two Texas footballing behemoths collapsed in 2010 when the Aggies packed up their kit and headed to the SEC (many still blame ESPN and UT for stirring that hornets nest with the Longhorn Network). Guillen's proposal calls for them to restore it as a very heated friendly. If they don't, the bill instructs the two universities that they "may not award to any student for the following academic year an athletic scholarship, grant, or similar financial assistance funded with state money and conditioned on the student’s participation on the university’s intercollegiate football team."

Basically, no game, no scholarships, and Guillen (an Aggie) would like the first rematch in the 2014-15 school year, please.

In a humorless missive, MQS lambasts Guillen and says "he wants to micro-manage college football schedules of Texas A&M and the University of Texas."


One, this is obviously a joke. Guillen has said that he's just trying to give the people of Texas what they want, but it's obviously a gag bill. There's an argument to be made that Guillen shouldn't be wasting legislative resources on a gag bill, but since the House barely even convened a major committee yet, it's hard to imagine that the staffers are over-burdened yet.

Two, if it's not a joke, then this is probably the only issue on which Aggies and Longhorns have agreed upon since they mutually decided to despise Rice.

And three, really, Sullivan, this is the most frivolous bill of the year? Because we're still standing by our belief that honor goes to HB650 by Rep. Bill Zedler. Yes, the same lawmaker that wants to tag strippers is back on the Birther bus. The Dallas Observer wryly observed that this is such a passe piece of Tea Party pandering that it's like telling your kids you like 30 Seconds to Mars. Progress Texas already has over 13,000 signatures on a petition demanding that Zedler withdraw his proposal.

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