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Definition Clarification

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Moderators: Tnias, Jus

Posts: 14
Joined: Tuesday September 5th, 2006 8:17 pm MDT

Definition Clarification

Postby Victor » Sunday July 20th, 2008 8:57 pm MDT

While trying to find the Texas Act similar to Colorado's "Administrative Organization Act of 1968", I stumbled upon the following.
§ 1.001. PURPOSE OF CODE. (a) This code is enacted as a part of the state's continuing statutory revision program, begun by the Texas Legislative Council in 1963 as directed by the legislature in the law codified as Chapter 323 of this code.
§ 1.002. CONSTRUCTION OF CODE. The Code Construction Act (Chapter 311 of this code) applies to the construction of each provision in this code, except as otherwise expressly provided by this code.

I then went to chapter 311 and found:
§ 311.001. SHORT TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the Code Construction Act.
§ 311.005. GENERAL DEFINITIONS. The following definitions apply unless the statute or context in which the word or phrase is used requires a different definition:
2) "Person" includes corporation, organization, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, and any other legal entity. (emphasis added)
If I understand this correctly, "person" as defined by this Act is any legal entity (or one created in law) and not a natural person. As I continued to read the code, I found the following:
(7) "State," when referring to a part of the United States, includes any state, district, commonwealth, territory, and insular possession of the United States and any area subject to the legislative authority of the United States of America.
(9) "United States" includes a department, bureau, or other agency of the United States of America.
(13) "Includes" and "including" are terms of enlargement and not of limitation or exclusive enumeration, and use of the terms does not create a presumption that components not expressed are excluded. (emphasis added)

I started to get confused when I got to the 13th definition. Do these definitions mean that a word, such as "person", can also be used to include a natural person? Does the phrase "not of exclusive enumeration" mean that the word "person" can mean entities such as "a man", "a women", or "a natural person"?
I'm trying to understand how this code would not apply to a human if the definiation states things such as: "and use of the terms does not create a presumption that components not expressed are excluded."
Wouldn't the Texas government be covering all their bases by stating such terms in their definitions? Thanks for any clarification on this matter.

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Re: Definition Clarification

Postby Admin » Tuesday July 22nd, 2008 12:30 pm MDT

:h: Victor:
After repeatedly covering the term, “definitions”, as used in statutory code and statutory construction, we will not repeat that work now hoping to inspire our readers to search our forum using the search function (top right of our forum) before making inquiries. After using that function ourselves on the topic, “Definitions”, we found at least the following relevant links: Re: Definition of Land , and Re: Statutory Definitions. Before you proceed with the rest of our response, please follow these links and read our responses to questions similar to yours.

From those links we hope you will remember:
  1. Dictionary definitions present the limited reflective descriptions of some of a word’s common usages and are limited to the lexicographer’s (dictionary author’s) described experience in studying the word;
  2. However, Statutory definitions are definitive of the term defined and are limited to usage only within the specific statutory usage set for the definition.
      In other words, statutory definitions only apply to the specific use of the specific term defined at that specific part of the statutes where the definition is defined to have its effect.
We run into this problem quite frequently in the Patriot and Tax Protest communities’ relation of codified definitions. They attempt to apply the meaning of the definitions across the board. That pattern simply does not work in statutory construction (statutory definitions). Another problem is the imagination that a particular dictionary definition is all inclusive of the possible meanings for a word. We must all remember, words sometimes have multiple meanings that even change over time. Thus, it is critical to notice the intent of an author’s meaning from the context of the written word. Even then, meaning can be an elusive thing; especially when considering statutory constructions where a word or phrase is defined in a different location in the statute than right there with the statutory usage. For example:
For United States Code, Title 26, Congress wrote:Sec. 7701. Definitions
(a) When used in this title, where not otherwise distinctly expressed or manifestly incompatible with the intent thereof –
Thus, the scope of the definitions found at § 7701 is the entirety of Title 26, which is the entire federal income tax code.

Not knowing that could cause a person reading something in the code to entirely misunderstand the meaning of the statutory code; or if those definitions were imagined to have meaning outside of that code as defined, that to could cause an entirely different understanding of a matter.

With that in mind we then look at your specific inquiry.
Looking for an legislative evidence of the Republic of Texas’ government forming a private corporate “State of Texas” you stumbled on the code you provided and noticed the phrase “as a part of the state's continuing statutory revision program” might indicate such a thing. Accordingly, you went to the referenced “chapter 311”.

Considering that the “edict” to form corporate governance relations came down from the National Governor’s Conference” in 1962, we would also expect that 1963 code adjustment might be telling. Accordingly, we would have first checked out the code referenced as “Chapter 323”. Also, we would want to know what the, “Texas Legislative Council” was and what its origins and authority are.

You went on to “Chapter 311” and found a definition with a qualifier. The scope of the definition was defined at Title 1 §1.002, “The Code Construction Act (Chapter 311 of this code) applies to the construction of each provision in this code, except as otherwise expressly provided by this code.”, which means the definitions that follow apply to each provision in the “GOVERNMENT CODE”, except where they are otherwise defined by other definitions provided in the code.

You then went to the definition of “Person” and applied an exclusion of any definition not therein applied. However, that understanding would be in direct contradiction to the definition you showed of the term “Includes”, which stated “"Includes" and "including" are terms of enlargement and not of limitation”. This alone should clearly describe that definitions like the one shown for “Person” is not an exclusive definition and does not exclude any normal definition of the term; rather the definition enlarges the definition to include the other entities noted in the definition. Of course if the context of a phrase in the code excluded the possibility for the word “person” to refer to corporations, then the definition would not include that meaning because of the codes provision, “The following definitions apply unless the statute or context in which the word or phrase is used requires a different definition”.

For additional clarity, the definition of “"Includes" and "including"” goes on with, “use of the terms does not create a presumption that components not expressed are excluded”. Thus, this statutory construction is exquisitely clear and denies the meaning of “person” as you first interpreted it from the code. In other words, their definition for their statutory construction does not exclude “a natural person” from the definition of the word “person” when used in their code. As we noted in the onset of this response, the only way to know the meaning of any statutory construction you have to:
  1. Find all of the definitions relevant to the specific statute in question;
  2. Examine the specific statute in question and find all of the words or phrases that are otherwise defined;
  3. Replace any word or phrase otherwise defined with the definition provided; and,
  4. Apply the statute as it is redefined by the statutory construction including said definitions.
This is why the statutory code is called code. It must be constructed from its whole as shown here and it can be cited by its codified reference.

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