Bud Kennedy

Another silly idea: the Secret Birthday Bill

State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, filed a bill to make birth dates secret.
State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, filed a bill to make birth dates secret. CindyBurkett.org

Only 10 weeks remain for the Texas Legislature.

But that’s plenty of time to pass beaucoup bad bills.

Take state Rep. Cindy Burkett’s Secret Birthday Bill.

If Burkett and the city of Mesquite get their way under House Bill 2766, birthdays will be illegal.

At least, it’ll be illegal for public workers to disclose anyone’s birth date.

As written, the bill would make a schoolroom birthday party a crime with a fine of up to $1,000.

At 57, Burkett is not the only one who’s had plenty of birthdays. (See my Facebook timeline.)

But our birthdays are basic information. It’s how we distinguish state Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, from, say, the Cindy Burkett with a gun arrest in Tyler.

I know some of us hate to tell our age, and too many websites use birth dates as part of online account security. But generally, it shouldn’t be a crime to give someone’s birthday or age.

Mesquite officials take the blame. They say they asked Burkett to change the law because a stalking suspect asked for women’s birthdays from city records.

But if the suspect used them illegally, that’s the crime. (The city kept the birthdays secret as part of the investigation.)

“We want residents to have confidence that when they fill out a form, that information will not be used against them,” said Wayne Larson, a city spokesman.

Look, if we don’t need to know somebody’s birthday, then neither does the city of Mesquite.

A spokeswoman in Burkett’s office said she filed the bill at the city’s request. She wasn’t trying to create pointless crimes or block public information.

When birthdays are outlawed, only outlaws will have birthdays.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

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