The Dumbest Laws in Each of the 50 States

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In recent weeks, we’ve seen 5-year-olds fined for selling lemonade, pet sitters ticketed for watching cats without a permit, teens handcuffed for selling bottles of water to thirsty people, and efforts to criminalize screen time for kids.

It got us thinking: how many silly, outrageous, and/or superfluous laws are there out there? Here are 50 laws that will make you laugh or scratch your head.

1. Alabama

Women can retain all property they owned prior to marriage in the case of divorce, according to Section 30-4-1 of the Alabama Code. However, this provision does not apply to men

2. Alaska

It is legal to turn a picnic table or bench into a boat, but only if it contains all safety precautions like life vests and is registered as a boat, according to the Alaska DMV.

3. Arizona

It is illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub, according to an Arizona-based law firm

4. Arkansas

It is prohibited to pronounce “Arkansas” incorrectly, according to Arkansas Code Title 1-4-10

5. California

It is forbidden to eat a frog that passed away during a “frog-jumping contest”, according to Article 2-6883 of California’s fishing and game code.

6. Colorado

In Aspen, it is illegal to launch a catapult at any building or person, according to Section 15.04.210.

7. Connecticut

In Meriden, it is illegal for a non-police officer or member of the police department to have a whistle or make the ‘bean police call’ on a whistle, according to Statute 153-7.

8. Delaware

In Rehoboth Beach, children can only trick-or-treat on Halloween from 6-8 pm, according to Chapter 193-33. If Halloween falls on a Sunday, children must trick-or-treat on Saturday, October 30 between 6-8 pm.

9. Florida

Pregnant pigs must be unconfined and be able to roam freely when they are pregnant, according to the Florida Constitution 10.21. Only pigs are designated in the constitution as having these rights.

10. Georgia

In Athens-Clarke County, a goldfish or any other animal may not be given to someone to entice them to enter a business agreement or game, according to Section 4-1-9.

11. Hawaii

Hawaii has a law called “Aloha Spirit” that is the coordination of mind and heart within everyone. This allows everyone to emanate happy feelings to one another, according to Statute 5-7.5.

12. Idaho

In Pocatello, it is illegal not to smile in public, according to a 1948 “smile” ordinance, which was passed to heighten moral after a hard winter, therefore transforming Pocatello into the United States Smile Capital.

13. Illinois

Those under 21 can drink legally, but only if they’re enrolled in a culinary program, according to Section 3-3.

14. Indiana

It is illegal to see a hypnotist without a doctor’s note unless you are trying to lose weight or quit smoking, according to Article 20.5-1.

15. Iowa

The standard size of all boxes used for picking hops has to be precisely 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 24 ¼ inches deep, according to Statute 210-14.

16. Kansas

In Topeka, it is against the law to scream in a haunted house, according to Shawnee County’s Haunted House conduct.

17. Kentucky

One may not dye a duckling blue and put it up for sale unless more than six are for sale at one time, according to state Statute 436.600.

18. Louisiana

There is a $500 fine if you instruct a pizza delivery man to deliver a pizza to your friend without them knowing, according to Section 14.68.6.

19. Maine

In Biddeford, it is illegal to gamble at the airport, according to Section 14-2.

20. Maryland

In Rockville, swearing is prohibited on sidewalks, streets, and highways, and one can be charged with a misdemeanor for violating the ordinance, according to Section 13-53.

21. Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, shooting ranges are not allowed to have targets that are shaped like humans, according to Part 1, Title XX, Chapter 140, Section 131.

22. Michigan

Every year in Michigan, the last Sunday in June will be known as “Log Cabin Day”, according to Act 60, Section 435.241.

23. Minnesota

It is illegal to grease up a pig to create a game if the aim of the game is to capture it again, according to Statute 343.36.

24. Mississippi

If a woman gives birth to two illegitimate children, at the same time or separately, she could go to jail for 30-90 days, according to Mississippi Code Title 97-29-11.

25. Missouri

Removing mattress tags or bringing an unlabeled mattress into the state is illegal in Missouri, according to Statute 421.007.1.

26. Montana

In Billings, Montana, residents are legally forbidden from raising pet rats, according to Section 4-301. However, if the rats are used as reptile or bird food, the practice is legal.

27. Nebraska

In Nebraska, persons with STDs cannot marry legally, according to Chapter 42, Section 102.

28. Nevada

In Reno, it is illegal to lie down on a public sidewalk, according to Section 8.12.015.

29. New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, it is illegal to pick up and collect seaweed off the beach during night hours, according to Title XVIII, Chapter 207:1.

30. New Jersey

Wearing a bullet-proof vest while murdering, kidnapping, robbing, or raping is illegal in New Jersey, according to S170.

31. New Mexico

In New Mexico, it is criminal – a petty misdemeanor, specifically – to misuse the national anthem or the state anthem, according to Section 30-21-5.

32. New York

If you’re a mayor of a New York village, you are not allowed to move the remains of a deceased person from an unused cemetery unless you are moving them to another resting place in the same county, according to Statute 15-1508.

33. North Carolina

It is prohibited to use a secret handshake to agree to or do illegal things, according to Statute 14-12.4.

34. North Dakota

It is illegal to attempt or perform human cloning, according to Statute 12.1-39-02.

35. Ohio

If a person coughs on another person while riding public transportation, the cougher can be arrested for a minor misdemeanor, according to Statute 2917.41.

36. Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, it is illegal to participate in horse tripping in any way, shape, or form. The offense comes with a punishment of a $2,000 fine or one year in jail, according to Statute 21-1700.

37. Oregon

In Oregon, farmers can be unknowingly committing a crime if they are driving on the highway with too much hay, according to Statute 164.815.

38. Pennsylvania

If you’ve ever been convicted of a felony and you happen to be in Pennsylvania, you’re not allowed to run a bingo game, according to Act 92.

39. Rhode Island

It is illegal to use a shopping cart at any other place except for the business labeled on the cart, according to Statute 11-41.1-2. This law also applies to dairy cases, egg baskets, bakery boxes, etc.

40. South Carolina

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to play pinball, according to Statute 63-19-20.

41. South Dakota

It is unlawful to cause static electricity in the city of Huron, according to Chapter 9.32.010.

42. Tennessee

It is illegal to share your passwords to any entertainment subscription service (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, HBO), according to Tennessee House Bill 1783.

43. Texas

An atheist in the Lone Star State cannot hold any public office, according to the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 4.

44. Utah

In Ogden, it is legal for animal control or law enforcement officers to have sex with animals, according to Ordinance 13-3-2.Whether the practice is open to the average citizen is unclear.

45. Vermont

It is illegal to dress one’s horse up in a disguise and to disguise it as something other than a horse, according to Statute 13-047.

46. Virginia

In Virginia, cussing at another person is prohibited by law, according to Code of Virginia 18.2-416.

47. Washington

In Washington, it is illegal to go out in public if you have a cold, according to RCW 70.54.050.

48. West Virginia

In West Virginia, it is illegal to hunt any kind of wild animal by using a ferret, according to WV Code 20-2-5.

49. Wisconsin

It is illegal to serve margarine in restaurants in Wisconsin (unless customers specifically ask for it) and in state prisons (with the only exception being medical necessity), according to Chapter 97.18.

50. Wyoming

In the city of Newcastle, going out in public while cross-dressing is unlawful, according to Sec. 17-14.

This post The Dumbest Laws in Each of the 50 States was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Anna Mathews and Caroline Probst.

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  • Anthony D’Orazio

    CT is the only state without a citizen’s arrest, if my memory serves me correctly.