Sunday, June 19, 2011

10 Weird and Wacky Laws

There is no question that many weird and wacky laws exist out there. You can only scratch your head and wonder what the various state legislatures were thinking about when they actually took the time to pass these strange ideas into law. And to take it a step farther, you can only wonder how some of these laws could possibly be enforced.

Many of these weird and wacky laws have subsequently been taken off the books, however just as many of them are still laws but obviously not being enforced. It would be interesting to know what the penalty would be if convicted of breaking these laws.

Here is a sampling of ten such laws that caught my attention (and tickled my funny bone).

In TEXAS, an anti-crime law requires criminals to give their victims notice—oral or written—twenty-four hours in advance of the crime they're planning to commit and the nature of that crime.

In WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA, it was once illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband walked in front of the car waving a red flag.

In the state of WASHINGTON, it is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone the local chief of police before entering the town.

In IOWA, one-armed piano players who perform must to it for free.

In ALABAMA, it's illegal to wear a funny fake mustache to church.

In NEW HAMPSHIRE, you may not tap your feet, nod your head or in any way keep time with the music played in a tavern, restaurant or café.

In CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, it is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe's neck.

In FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, a person can be jailed for wearing a hat while dancing or wearing a hat to an event where dancing is taking place.

In MINNESOTA, no one is allowed to cross the line into the state with a duck on his/her head.

In DENVER, COLORADO, next door neighbors may not lend each other vacuum cleaners.

And here's a bonus offering that truly boggles the mind:

In MICHIGAN, beavers can be fined up to $10,000 per day for building unlicensed dams, according to a letter the state once sent certain beavers in Grand Rapids. This actually happened! After complaints about flooding on neighboring property, the state sent a letter to the land owner ordering him to remove unauthorized wood debris dams. The reply sent by the landowner was widely circulated around the internet as he pointed out that the "wood debris dams" belonged to beavers and he was not responsible for it. Eventually the matter was dropped and it seems unlikely that this would actually happen again.

Do any of you have weird laws in your state or country that have long ago outlived their original purpose but are still on the books?


Delaney Diamond said...

I can't think of any weird laws in Georgia, but I have to say you found some strange ones. If I'm ever in New Hampshire, I'll make sure not to enjoy the music, and I'll definitely take the duck off my head before I enter Minnesota.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for the morning chuckle. Calvin's newspaper rattled downward and his silver eyebrows rose. "What's got your funny bone this morning?" I read them to him. He's threatening to make a red flag later... Great post!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Samantha,
I don't have a clue about any weird or wacky laws in my neck of the woods, but these are too funny. I think it makes sense to notify in advance those whom a person plans to rob, don't you? However, I do take issue about the one armed piano player. They should get paid half.

Samantha Gentry said...

Delaney: I think it would be safer to keep the duck on your head rather than having it run around loose where someone could trip over it. I think the lawmakers in Minnesota misjudged that one. LOL

Samantha Gentry said...

Vonnie: Keep him away from that red flag. We'll have none of that!

Thanks for stopping by.

Samantha Gentry said...

Lynne: Absolutely...I think all nefarious types should be required to notify their potential victims in advance. It's the polite thing to do. :)

Victoria Roder said...

In Racine, Wisconsin it is illegal to shoot missiles at parade participants. I was wondering if it's okay to shoot them at the spectators?
Fun post!

Samantha Gentry said...

LOL...that's a good question. Makes you wonder if that incident actually happened for the powers that be to pass a law prohibiting it.

Thanks for commenting.

DA Kentner said...

I live in Freeport, IL, which makes these lists occasionally for the law prohibiting spitting out a second-story window. Apparently the majority of folks find it acceptable to spit out the window, using the people below as targets. And a county to our south still requires the drivers of cars to exit their vehicle at one-lane bridges and ring a bell, honk a horn, and fire a gun before crossing.

Samantha Gentry said...

DA: Those are good ones. I guess it's okay to spit out of a third-story window. :)

Wow...that law about needing to fire a gun before driving across a one lane bridge pretty much means that the driver must carry a firearm in the car -- something that usually runs contrary to the laws of the land. That seems like a bit of a contradiction for the driver. Thanks for commenting.

DA Kentner said...

The bridge law was written when the first autos came out. Designed to provide lots of warning for any approacing horses of the car's crossing the bridge, the county has yet to repeal it.
No one knows why...

Samantha Gentry said...

DA: There are probably hundreds (or more likely thousands) of those old and outdated laws on the books of the 50 states. I guess it's easier and cheaper to just ignore them rather than spend time and money searching them out so they can be repealed.