Stupid Laws in Every State
New Zealand, France, China, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries require parents to submit the name of their expected child for state approval. These governments feel a child parents should not pick a name that will encourage ridicule of the child or prove offensive.
In the United States, local authorities have some authority to reject names when issuing a birth certificate. It is not likely, for instance, that a birth certificate would be issued in the name of an obscenity. Still, US parents enjoy quite a bit of leeway in naming their children.
Still, the US has its share of stupid laws on the books:
- Alaska: Children may not build snowmen taller than themselves on school property. It is, furthermore, illegal to feed alcohol to a moose.
- Alabama: Do not get caught driving with a blindfold on, and do not wear a false mustache to church lest it make people laugh.
- Arizona: You are not permitted to kick a mule, but if a mule kicks you, it cannot be prosecuted. Commit a misdemeanor while wearing a red mask, and it will be charged as a felony, and in the city of Globe, you are not allowed to play cards in the street with a Native American.
- Arkansas: Mules get to keep their own teeth in Arkansas where it is illegal to file down a mule’s teeth. Luckily for the women of Arkansas, their husbands may beat them only once a month.
- California: You used to need a permit to set a trap for a mouse. Luckily for the animal life, it is illegal to shoot any animal from a moving car – except a whale. On the downside, animals are not permitted to mate within 1,500 feet of a tavern or public school.
- Colorado: You are specifically forbidden to throw a pair of shoes at a bridal party. You also cannot ride a horse while drunk; it is not clear whether that refers to the rider or the horse.
- Connecticut: In Hartford, you cannot train a dog, and it is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on Sundays. And, do not even think of walking backwards after sunset in the town of Devon.
- Delaware: Drive-in theatres cannot show R-rated films. You cannot whisper in church or change in or out of your bathing suit in a public restroom.
- Florida: Unmarried woman cannot parachute on a Sunday. Male or female, married or unmarried, Florida residents were once required to dress while in a bathtub. It is illegal, too, for a man to dream about another man’s wife – or cow. Speaking of cows, it is also against the law to put livestock on a school bus.
- Georgia: Among other things, Georgia will not let you tie your giraffe to a telephone pole, chickens are not allowed to cross the road in Quitman, and in Jonesboro, you are not allowed to say, “oh, boy!” One nice touch is that a school girl must carry a school boy’s books if they are walking together.
- Hawaii: There was a time when a barber was not permitted to use a shaving brush to lather up a customer’s beard.
- Idaho: Unless you had the sheriff’s permission, you once were not allowed to buy a onions or a chicken - after dark. You cannot ride a carousel on Sunday, and if you give your girl candy, it must be at least 50 pounds.
- Illinois: It is legal to send an animal to jail. In Chicago, you cannot take a poodle to the opera or wear a hatpin because it is considered a concealed weapon.
- Indiana: Taking baths in the winter was once forbidden in the Hoosier State. You still cannot go to the theatre if you have eaten garlic in the preceding 4 hours.
- Iowa: There was a time when it was illegal for women to go without a corset, kisses cannot last longer than 5 minutes, and a man cannot wink at a woman within Ottumwa city limits.
- Kansas: Mistreatment of your wife’s mother will not be held against you during divorce proceedings. Do not try to order cherry pie a la mode on Sundays.
- Kentucky: Wives were required to accompany their husbands when shopping for a coat. Those same men are required to bathe at least once a year, and women may not appear on the highway in a bathing suit unless they are accompanied by two guards – or a big stick.
- Louisiana: People may not whistle on Sunday. They are also not allowed to gargle or wear an alligator costume in public. And, the ultimate indignity, women cannot drive through New Orleans unless their husbands precede them waving a warning flag.
- Maine: It used to be illegal to walk the streets with your shoelaces untied.
- Maryland: The people of Maryland were prohibited from mistreating an oyster.
- Massachusetts: You will be censured if you eat more than 3 sandwiches at a funeral. And, you need a license to wear a goatee. In Boston alone, you cannot own more than 3 dogs, kiss in front of a church, or eat peanuts in church.
- Michigan: The hair on the head of Michigan women was the property of her husband. The law classifies dentists as “mechanics.”
- Minnesota: Washerwoman could not hang men’s underwear and women’s underwear on the same line. If that is not enough, you cannot sleep in the nude. And, if you double-park in Minneapolis, you could be sentenced to a chain gang.
- Mississippi: If you were so inclined, it used to be illegal to soap railroad tracks.
- Missouri: Men need a permit to shave, and in Excelsior Springs, you get in trouble if you make a squirrel worry.
- Montana: Women may not dance on a saloon table unless their clothes weigh more than 3 pounds. And, get this; you cannot operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels.
- Nebraska: Cornhuskers used to fine you for sneezing in public. Omaha barbers may not shave customers’ chests, and if your child burps in an Omaha church, you might be fined
- New Hampshire: Do not take seaweed off the beach, dye margarine pink, or sell the clothes off your back to pay a gambling debt.
- New Jersey: It was illegal to interfere with the flight of homing pigeons. It is also illegal to sell handcuffs to a minor, frown at a cop, slurp soup, or, at least in Newark, throw a bad pickle into the street.
- New Mexico: You need to make sure your bicycle horn has a harmonious sound. However, do not spit on the steps at the opera house in Deming.
- New York: Play cards on a train: go to jail. It is illegal to smoke within 100 feet of a public building, but a woman may go topless on the subway.
- Nevada: Nevadans are not partial to camels on its highways. In Vegas, you are not allowed to pawn your dentures, and in Elko, everyone on the street must wear a mask.
- North Carolina: If you are going to sing in North Carolina, be sure you are in tune. In Charlotte, women must be dressed in 16 yards of cloth at all times,
- North Dakota: You once were not allowed to trap birds – in a cemetery. You also are not allowed to lie down and go to sleep in public – with your shoes on, and you will not find a bar or restaurant that serves beer and pretzels at the same time.
- Ohio: You cannot get your fish drunk or hunt whales on a Sunday.
- Oklahoma: Sooners were not permitted to eavesdrop. They also do not like the idea of taking a bite of someone else’s burger or making ugly faces at pets.
- Oregon: They do not permit dead people to serve on juries. What is more, in Portland a man cannot tickle a woman under the chin – with a feather duster. And, as a sign of the times, you may not buy or sell marijuana, but you can smoke it on your property.
- Pennsylvania: Cursing brought a $.45 fine; take the name of God in vain, and the fine went up to $.65. You cannot put Philadelphia pretzels in a bag, and a man needs written consent of his wife to buy alcohol.
- Rhode Island: Do not even consider throwing pickle juice at a trolley or passing another vehicle without making a loud noise.
- South Carolina: There was a time when you were required to carry a gun to church and horses were required to wear big diapers in Charleston. You need to be 18 to play a pinball machine.
- South Dakota: Dakotans had a problem with an 80 year old woman who stopped in the street to talk to a young man. Not surprisingly, all hotels are required to put two beds in each room, and those beds must be two feet apart. It is also illegal to fall asleep in a cheese factory.
- Tennessee: The sheriff used to insist that you place a notice in the local paper, a week in advance, of you intent to drive. Tennessee authorities will not allow you to take a skunk across state lines or catch fish with a lasso.
- Texas: You could carry a gun in Texas – but not a pair of pliers. However, you cannot sell your left or right eye, nor can you shoot a buffalo from a second story window.
- Utah: You could not wear heels on your shoes if they where more than 1.5 inches high. And, on the highway, remember that birds do have the right of way and that there must be daylight between the bodies of dancers.
- Vermont: Women cannot wear false teeth – without their husband’s permission. On the other hand, it was also illegal to paint a horse.
- Virginia: For the longest time, you could not put a bathtub in your house, and, even now, you cannot spit at a seagull.
- Washington: Ducks get a break because it is illegal to hunt them from a boat – unless the hunter is upright and visible from the waist up. And, for some strange reason, lollipops are outlawed.
- West Virginia: You could sneeze in private or public but not on a train. Still, you are permitted to take road-kill home for dinner.
- Wisconsin: Not surprising, Wisconsin cheese had to be served with any meal costing $.25 or more.
- Wyoming: If you wanted to take a picture of a rabbit – during January, February, March, or April, you had to get a license. Moreover, you could be arrested if you get drunk in a gold mine.
These rules and regulations stay on the books until a legislative body goes to the trouble of bringing them up for reconsideration and vote to repeal. Usually, this is more time intensive and costly than it is worth. That they are still on the books is worth a laugh or two.
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