From the Chronicle: Voters to decide if Open Beaches Act will become part of the Texas Constitution
This is one of those funny bits of state politics that I find interesting. For all of Texas’ aversion to big brother and big government, we have declared by law that the State, and only the State, owns the beach. It’s free and open for the entire citizenry of Texas to make use of. This is great! We’ve culturally embraced the importance of preserving access to the coast for our decendents. Still, this is a little out-of-character for Texas.
Now people are considering upgrading the law that makes this so (the Open Beaches Act) to a State Constitutional Ammendment. This would make it much more difficult to ever be repealed in the future. I think our Open Beaches are great, and I don’t want to see that law threatened or repealed, so I have no complaint about an effort to make it an ammendment.
I do think, however, that the people of Texas have passed such a great number of ammendments and modifications to the constitution that I wonder if we really needed them all. For purposes of comparison, the US Constitution and all its ammendments are 21 pages long. The Texas Constitution is over 450 pages long.
To be fair, the Federal government has limited powers by design, and is supposed to defer most things to the State. That may not be the way things actually work, but in theory it would cause states to need more detailed constitutions than the Federal government does.
Still, the difference in size is enlightening. When the law becomes so complex and unwieldy that it takes an army of experts to decipher, our freedoms are in danger. It is easier to get away with corrupt action when you can hide it in a vast ocean of beaucratic and legal morass. The beauty of the Founding Father’s example for us is their embrace of the “less is more” philosophy.
Government works best when there’s less of it. Let’s just keep that in mind whenever the legislature is in session.