Regulation States

For those of you who do not know me, I was born and raised in Texas but moved away for 15 years, returning in 2012. Man, did I miss the music scene and good Tex-Mex! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in New Mexico, Oregon, and Florida; while I never expected to move back to Texas, it has been an interesting experience. Along with the previous states, I have also spent some time in Louisiana, albeit quite a while ago when my grandfather was alive, and now own a second home in the Sierra foothills of California.

So I have experienced two bluish-purple states and two reddish-purple states, with Texas and Louisiana now having morphed into solid red states and Florida not far behind, and two solid blue states. New Mexico seemed to me to be just like Louisiana, but Spanish rather than French, but I digress. I found it constructive to assess the business climate in all the states and, until moving back, always felt Texas was very pro-individual and pro-business. That now comes with a caveat.

While I will not dispute the economic numbers that Texas has put up as compared the other states, especially the blues states, having now moved back, I find that Texas has almost as many inane regulations California and Oregon; Texas just regulates different areas of our lives!

Forget the abortion case in front of the Supreme Court; I am talking about more mundane situations. When we first moved back to Texas, the entire South was in a severe drought. We had no sooner unloaded our RV at a rental home when a fire broke out about eight miles away. As the fire advanced towards our neighborhood, we simply reloaded several boxes into the RV in case we needed to evacuate; while experiencing the disruption of an evacuation alert for several weeks, luckily we did not have to leave.

Last summer, a fire broke out in the county of our California home, this time, we were ordered to evacuate. Fortunately, the winds shifted when the fire was only a few miles away, and then it blew back on itself. Having experienced these two fires within a few years of each other, it presented a stark dichotomy.

Here in Texas, where supposedly regulations are kept to a minimum and individuality celebrated, we were told that if ordered to evacuate, we had 20 minutes to leave. Otherwise, we would have been arrested. In the short time we have owned our second home, I jokingly call the state, “the People’s Republic of California,” because of the numerous and overbearing regulations I have already encountered. Unlike Texas, when the “mandatory” evacuation was put into effect, had we wanted to, we could have stayed in our home! We could not have left the evacuation zone and then returned, but we could have stayed! Go figure!

On the other hand, in California, you can buy wine and hard liquor in a grocery store or drugstore at any time of the day, seven days a week. Due to the influence of churches, in Texas, you can only purchase alcohol between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM, Monday through Saturday! I have a cousin that owns the first liquor store just on the other side of a “dry” county, so he not only gets business from those around him but everyone in the southwest corner of the adjacent county! Not many individual rights when it comes to staying in your home or choosing to consume liquor!

Last night we went to a concert at a winery in Texas, and the myriad of rules surrounding alcohol was astounding. The winery owner stressed that if any outside alcohol was brought onto the premises, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission could shut them down! The business is doing everything right, but an irresponsible visitor can cause them to lose their license. How is that for being pro-business?

Unfortunately, we are not actually talking about more or less regulation; just that red Texas simply chooses different areas to regulate than blue California! I like to quote Dennis Miller when he says (and I am paraphrasing), “Back in the 60s, we protested “the man” and all of “the man’s rules.” Now we have grown up to become “the man” on steroids!”

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