Hey, Texplainer: Why are Texas state agencies operating with a skeleton crew today? Did I miss the announcement?

Well, it's a venerated Texas holiday, of course: Confederate Heroes' Day. What are you doing to celebrate? 

The Texas Legislature first made Jan. 19 a holiday in 1931 to celebrate the birthday of Robert E. Lee, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. In 1973, the Legislature voted to do away with the individual birthday commemorations for Lee and for Jefferson Davis on June 3 and instead recognize one holiday to celebrate both. Voila: Confederate Heroes' Day! In honor of the holiday, state agencies are working with a "skeleton crew," according to the state holiday schedule maintained by the State Auditor's Office. So, if you're wondering why it's taking a little longer to get a call back from a state agency, blame (or praise) the Confederates. And fair warning, here are the other "skeleton crew" state holidays: March 2, Texas Independence Day, and April 21, San Jacinto Day.


The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Ever hear something about Texas politics or public policy over and over and wonder what it is? Or read something that made you think, "Huh, I have no idea what that means"? We at the Trib are here to help. From questions about how state government works to why Rick Perry is within his legal right to shoot a coyote while jogging, from what the heck "chubbing" is and why legislators keep talking about it to why the Texas Capitol is bigger than the U.S. Capitol, Texplainer will answer your burning questions. Why are there so many conflicting state budget numbers? What's the Rainy Day Fund for? Why can't the Legislature take up legislation in the first 60 days of the session when it only has 140 days to meet? We'll tell you. We want to hear from you so send us your questions by writing to texplainer@texastribune.org

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

Never miss a moment in Texas politics with our daily newsletter.