Most of the people who testify at legislative hearings are "regular" people—active citizens or members of organizations who want to make their voices heard about proposed legislation. However, in our committee minutes scanning project, famous names sometimes jump out at us. Here are a few examples:

  • Musician Willie Nelson was the second individual to testify at the House Committee on Government Organization public hearing on April 4, 1989. Nelson spoke in favor of SB 489, 71R, a sunset bill that provided for the continuation of the Department of Agriculture. Noted in the minutes: "Chair recognized Willie Nelson of Austin, Texas, representing himself, as well as rabbits and horned toads." Congresswoman Barbara Jordan "of Austin, Texas, representing herself"—the Texas Legislature's own past Sen. Jordan—testified immediately following Nelson.
  • On March 11, 2009, the 81st Legislature's House Committee on Appropriations heard from Linda Gray and Larry Hagman, actors of Dallas fame, regarding film incentive funding.
  • Sometimes you have to know your Texas history—and possible name misspellings—to spot the notable figure mention. In the 39th Legislature (1925), the House Committee to Investigate Certain State Departments was charged with, among other items, investigating "the administration of highway affairs by the State Highway Commission." Former Rep. Sam Johnson, at the time a section foreman with the Highway Commission, testified before the committee, and he talks about his son, "Linden Johnson," who was driving tractors and helping Sam with payroll. "Lyndon" is the correct spelling of Rep. Johnson's son's name—as in future U.S. president Lyndon Baines Johnson!