TXM-logo-2014-with-tag-olFollowing the example of its contract with Texas Mutual, in which the insurance company funds fraud prosecutions by its office, the Travis County district attorney’s office is now requiring that all victims of crime pay for the prosecution of the accused.

“Where else would we get the money?” a spokesman for the office asked. “The Texas legislature does not like this office.” Under the new rules, the victim of a house burglary, for example, will be required to pay for the cost of an investigator, a spreadsheet preparer, a crime lab technician, fifteen minutes of a trial lawyer’s time if a plea deal is made, and four weeks for the lawyer and other costs if the case goes to trial. “I know that seems like a lot,” the spokesman said, “but it may be covered by insurance. Or it may not be.”

Murder victims present a different problem, if the family is unwilling or unable to pay for an expensive investigation and trial. “People really should consider this eventuality in their estate planning,” the spokesman warned.


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Brought to us by our pals at Wikipedia.

Austin carpenters, stone masons, plumbers  and electricians have demanded the same rights as Austin taxi companies. They argue that their rates should be protected against price cutting, that the number of new workers in their trades should be limited by the city and that persons wanting to become a plumber, for example, should be finger-printed and subjected to a background check.

A union spokesman said, “This system worked so well in the 12th and 13th Century, I don’t know why we ever got away from it. In Medieval times, no one within a town could practice a craft without belonging to the appropriate guild associations.The purpose of the guilds was to maintain a monopoly of a particular craft especially against outsiders. For example, the harness makers would get together and figure out what the owners of business needed from that trade then allow as many masters to set up shop as the business could support.”

“Back then regulations prevented poor workmanship. Each article had to be stamped as approved. In Florence the number of dyers was specified by the guild. In one place it was forbidden to sell pigs fattened by a barber-surgeon lest the pig had been fattened on rich peoples’ blood. The City of Austin should have a similar rule. Price-cutting was strictly forbidden. This works so well for the taxis. It will work for the rest of us too.”

A city committee supports the changes. One member of the committee studying the changes bristled at the suggestion that Austin might lose craftsmen if the new regulations are put in place. “This is a matter of public safety. These people come into our homes. They could just be anybody. They all need to be finger-printed and their backgrounds checked. If that means some additional city workers, it will be worth it. Besides, no one ever leaves Austin. We know that.”

The committee also voted in favor of charging craftsmen an annual fee of either 1 percent of gross revenues or a per-craftsman permit fee of $450 per year for each craftsman. The fees will be added to the amount they must charge their customers. “Somebody has to pay for all that finger-printing.”

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