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What Are the Weirdest Laws Around the US?

Schmidt & Clark explore the law books for some of the most bizarre and strangest laws that have been passed in the different US states. Which ones do you know?
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US law

There's no denying that there’s some bizarre state laws in the United States. While some will have made perfect sense when they were written, they now seem completely outdated and make us question the rationale behind making them in the first place.

From not being allowed to sell cars or automobiles on Sundays in Colorado, to it being illegal to collect seaweed at night in New Hampshire, we have scoured the law books to find some of the weirdest laws that have been passed that shockingly still exist today. 

Get ready to be absolutely astonished by the crazy and weird laws of the United States. 

S&C Weird Law

In Arkansas, it is illegal for pinball machines to give away more than 25 free games to players who keep winning.

Coin-operated amusement devices such as pinball machines in Arkansas are specially designed to only allow people to win up to 25 times, which seems slightly unfair to us!

In California, it is illegal for frogs that die in frog jumping contests to be eaten.

California

Anyone can have any number of live frogs in California to use in frog-jumping contests, but if the frog dies or is killed, it is required to be destroyed as soon as possible, and may not be eaten or used for any other purpose.

In Colorado, it is illegal to sell cars or automobiles on Sundays.

No person, firm or corporation shall keep, open, operate, or assist in keeping open any place for the purpose of selling, exchanging or offering for sale any motor vehicle, whether new, used, or secondhand on Sundays.

In Delaware, it is illegal to pawn your artificial limb.

Delaware

Most of us have never wondered if they can pawn their artificial limb or not, but if you're in Delaware you definitely can’t. No pawnbroker shall take or receive as a pledge or pawn any artificial limb or wheelchair for that matter.

In Florida, it is illegal to toss dwarves.

This just seems like common sense as no one should be tossed in the air, but there was actually a law that was passed in 1989, to prohibit anyone who owns an establishment where alcoholic beverages are offered from allowing any contest or promotion that involves the exploitation or endangering the health of any person with dwarfism. 

Please note we don’t endorse the usage of the word “dwarf'' as although it is often used in the United States, many people take offense to it.

In Georgia, those engaged in Llama-related activities are responsible for any personal injuries.

In Georgia, a llama activity sponsor or llama professional is not liable for any injury to or the death of a participant in llama activities because of the risks that are associated with these types of animal activities.

In Hawaii, clotheslines count as using renewable resources and there is a ban on banning them.

In Hawaii, no municipality can prohibit the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources. 

In Idaho, cannibalism is illegal.

We hope that this law extends to the whole of the US! The law states that anybody who  ingests the flesh or blood of a human being is guilty of cannibalism. 

In Iowa, imitation butter 'Margarine' cannot be described using the words 'Butter' 'Creamery' or 'Dairy'.

They take their butter seriously in Iowa! Imitation butter can only be sold under the name of oleomargarine rather than butter, creamery, or dairy. 

Imitation butter must also not use any words that are associated with dairy cattle or words or symbols that are commonly used in connection with butter.

In Louisiana, it is illegal to partake in bear wrestling.

louisiana bear wrestling

It is illegal to promote, engage in, or be employed by anyone who conducts a bear wrestling match in Louisiana. 

It is also illegal to receive money for the admission of another person to a location where bear wrestling takes place. 

Furthermore, you can’t sell, purchase, possess or train a bear for a wrestling match. 

We don’t need any laws to stop us from partaking in bear wrestling, they terrify us regardless!

In Minnesota, it is illegal to hold contests which involve catching a greased and oiled pig.

Minnesota

The pigs in Minnesota can sleep tight to live another day as no person can run in a contest, game, or other similar activity in which a pig is released and where the object is the capture of the pig. 

This also relates to chickens and turkey, any violation of this section of law is a misdemeanor.

In Mississippi, it is illegal to have more than one illegitimate child.

If any person in Mississippi has become the parent of an illegitimate child a second time round, he or she will be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction will be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for no less than thirty days or more than ninety days. They may also be fined $230.

In New Hampshire, it is illegal to collect seaweed at night.

Those who enjoy a midnight forage may be disappointed to find out that it is illegal to collect seaweed between daylight in the evening and daylight in the morning in New Hampshire.

In New York, it is illegal to take selfies with big cats.

This law might not be relevant for those who don’t like cats or selfies for that matter, but it is illegal to take a photograph with a big cat in New York.

In Nevada, it is illegal to use an x-ray machine to determine a person's shoe size.

In Nevada, it is illegal for a person to operate or maintain any shoe-fitting device or shoe-fitting machine which uses fluoroscopic, X-ray or radiation principles. Those who violate the provisions are guilty of a misdemeanor.

In North Carolina, commercially sponsored bing games can’t last for more than five hours.

You may not want to live in North Carolina if you enjoy a long game of bingo. The number of sessions of bingo is limited to two sessions per week and these sessions can not exceed a period of five hours each per session. 

Additionally, no two sessions of bingo can be held within a 48 hour period.

In Texas, it is illegal for atheists to run for office.

In Texas, no religious test will ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust. Neither will anyone be prevented from holding office because of their religious beliefs, but they are required to acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being. 

In Vermont, Clotheslines Count As Using Renewable Resource And There Is A Ban on Banning Them

In Vermont, no municipality can prohibit the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources. 

In Virginia, it is illegal to hunt on Sundays except for raccoons.

Animal activists will be pleased to know that hunting or killing a wild bird or animal is illegal on Sunday in Virginia. However, this does not include hunting or killing raccoons.

In Washington, all public building doors must swing outwards.

This law might not sound real but it is in the state of Washington, the doors of all public buildings such as theatres, opera houses and school buildings must swing outwards.

In West Virginia, swearing and drunkenness will see you fined a dollar.

Your Nana will be happy to hear that in West Virginia, if anyone at the age of discretion curses, swears or gets drunk in public, they will be fined by a justice one dollar for each offense.

In Wisconsin, you can be fined for not closing the gate.

Think twice before you leave a gate open in Wisconsin, if you neglect to close a gate in this state of a private road or a river or stream you could end up with a fine of $750.00.

In Wyoming, it is illegal to ski while intoxicated.

In Wyoming, it is illegal to move uphill on any passenger tramway or use any ski slope or trail while under the influence of alcohol. Although this law is extremely specific, we do agree with this one!

After reading all these unusual laws around the country, next time you're thinking of taking a selfie with a big cat in New York, thinking of engaging in Llama-related activities in Georgia or contemplating pawning your artificial limb in Delaware, you might want to think again!

Sources:

  1. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=70.54.070 
  2. https://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A09004&term=2013&Summary=Y&Text=Y 
  3. https://www.azleg.gov/viewDocument/?docName=http://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/03312.htm 
  4. https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol10_Ch0436-0474/HRS0445/HRS_0445-0112.htm 
  5. http://delcode.delaware.gov/title24/c023/sc01/index.html#2307 
  6. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xviii/207/207-48.htm 
  7. https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2020/title-4/chapter-12/section-4-12-5/ 
  8. https://law.justia.com/codes/indiana/2019/title-7-1/article-3/chapter-10/section-7-1-3-10-5/ 
  9. https://law.justia.com/codes/iowa/2011/titlev/subtitle4/chapter192/192-143/ 
  10. https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/rs/title14/rs14-102-10/ 
  11. https://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-97/chapter-29/in-general/section-97-29-11 
  12. https://law.justia.com/codes/west-virginia/2005/61/wvc61-8-15.html 
  13. https://law.justia.com/codes/wyoming/2011/title6/chapter9/section6-9-301/
  14. https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title29.1/chapter5/section29.1-521/ 
  15. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0500-0599/0561/Sections/0561.665.html
  16. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=FGC&sectionNum=6883.&article=2.&highlight=true&keyword=frog 
  17. https://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules/idstat/Title18/T18CH50/SECT18-5003/
  18. https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-202.html#NRS202Sec245 
  19. https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/24/061/02291a 
  20. https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_14/Article_37.html 
  21. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2019/cite/343.36?keyword_type=all&keyword=greased 
  22. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CN/htm/CN.1.htm