As the 2019 legislative gets underway, Texas Standard is talking with members about some of the bills they’ve filed, and what they hope their legislation will accomplish.
James White is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 19 in East Texas, which includes Tyler. He filled House Bill 581 and 582 that would extend the sale of fireworks to Juneteenth and Labor Day holidays.
On how Texas becoming more urban also changes its courts:
Our “square mileage” in the state is in rural areas, but most of our folks live in urban and suburban areas. And to adjust to that, we have given our county Commissioners Courts the authority to approve of the sales [of fireworks].
On using commissioners courts to approve new fireworks laws:
The sales can happen upon Commissioner Court approval.
On why Juneteenth matters:
Juneteenth is a very special day in Texas. On June 19th, we celebrate the anniversary of the freeing of the slaves in Texas. So, we wanna add Juneteenth in. And then Labor Day, of course, is sort of like the end of summer. Everybody’s going back to work, everybody’s going back to school. So, we wanna open up the opportunity to have fireworks displays on that day as well.
On what happened last session when he proposed the same thing:
[They] were passed out of committee. The only reason they did not pass is because of a sort of a parliamentarian breakdown on the House floor last session. And as one famous legislator told me, that means that almost for two centuries, this legislation will not be in statute, and the State of Texas seems like it has survived very well.
On the fate of these bills during this session:
If it doesn’t pass, hey, look, the Republic of Texas will continue to thrive. … But these are two great bills that will give people in Texas the opportunity to celebrate two great holidays: Juneteenth and Labor Day.