Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Odd Laws You Never Knew Could Still Exist

Local and state laws are ever changing and it's almost impossible to keep up with tens of thousands of new laws placed in the books by both our glorious leaders and ballot initiatives across this once great country. In California alone the State lawmakers passed 900 new laws that took effect in January of 2017. This after passing 930 new laws that took effect in January of 2016, and over 1000 in January 2015. So in a three year period the State of California has added 2830 new laws that we must abide by, and only God knows how many city and county laws were passed in that two year period.

The vast majority of these laws are regulatory ones that deal specifically with businesses. Which makes you realize how tough these politicians have been made it for anyone to run a business without running afoul of the law. There are also the laws that specifically deal with every day life of us peasants,  Laws that most citizens will never know about until they are cited for violating them. What takes place every year in California is repeated in every state of the Union.

The people we appoint to represent us will spend most of their time finding new and bizarre ways of separating us from our money and freedom. It has been estimated that when you consider Federal, State, County, City, Municipalities, and even some local Neighborhood laws passed last year alone that our elected officials passed over 250,000 new laws across this great land of the free.

While the number of new laws passed every year is greater then they have been in the past, new laws are one fact of life that every citizen in this country has had to live with since we won our independence from King George. You know, that guy we rebelled against because of a penny tax and a few laws we disliked.

There are many laws that have come and gone through the years with some addressing very specific circumstances for the times those laws were made which no longer apply. Today, these outdated laws may seem just plain wacky and stupid to us today, but at some point they were very important, or at least those who passed them thought they were.

When you consider some if these laws, one can only imagine what was going through the politicians minds when they were debating whether or not a violation for tying an elephant to a parking meter should come with a fine, and how much said fine will be. Now we don’t have to agree with the laws, regulations, and statutes currently in place but they are there and we must abide by them.

No matter how we feel about the healthcare issue, the wall, immigration, how to get the economy running smooth, or anything else that’s currently going on in our country, we should at least be able to have a chuckle over some of the most wacky laws that are, or have been on the books. So with a little investigation I found some lists of laws that are just plain strange. I picked the ones I thought were the most absurd or strange and here is my list of 24.

A few of these laws may have already been removed from the books, but most are still on the books. The ranking is just random with no significance, and there are many that you may run afoul of that are not listed here. So for your amusement, I offer a wacky list of laws that you could be in violation of one any given day. If you can think of one or more in your area that could be on the list, let me know so we can all be educated on the stupidity of our elected officials.

24. In New Jersey and Oregon it is illegal for a driver to pump their own gas. The lawmakers claim they passed this law because the state government was worried that average drivers could not handle flammable materials like gas properly. But a 16 year old high school student could. So, to this day, in New Jersey and Oregon, you must let a professional gas station attendant pump your gas. This law is still on the books, but it has nothing to do with protecting people from harmful flammable materials. It was passed at a time when self service gas stations began popping up and they wanted to protect a job that would soon be gone when all services stations went to self service.

23. In Reno, Nevada, the sale of sex toys, which includes “any device … designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs”, is forbidden. The state of Nevada allows for brothels but it seems the Reno is a little weary of self stimulation. You can pay someone else to do it for you but you can’t pay to do it for yourself. Any bets that this was done to protect the brothel industry?

22. In Fairbanks, Alaska, it’s illegal to give a moose alcohol and it’s also illegal for a moose to have sex on city streets. While the first part of this makes sense, a drunk moose would probably be pretty dangerous, the second part sounds like something that might be really hard to enforce. Do you fine these exhibitionist moose or do you just haul them off to jail? Let’s face it. If they’ve been getting it on in the street, they’re probably already drunk.

21. No one can suddenly start or stop a car in front of any drive-through restaurants in general in Little Rock, Arkansas. This must have made Bill Clinton’s visits to the local McDonald’s really interesting back in the 80”s when he was the Governor. Maybe that’s why he decided to take up jogging when he became President. Or maybe it was to stop those darned kids from doing smoky burnouts in ratty Camaros to impress the chicks hanging out drinking soda's on a hot Friday night. OK, I may be showing my age with this one.

20. An anti-crime law in Texas requires criminals to give their victims notice, oral or written, 24 hours in advance of the the crime they’re planning to commit and the nature of that crime. It seems unlikely that someone who is already planning to break one law would follow this law and actually put pen to paper. To me it sounds like a case of piling on of another charge for any crime committed. It really does seem that if this law were really enforced every person in Texas would be guilty of the infraction at least once in their lives. Just think of the possibilities this law carries for financially strapped governments. Lets hope the federal government never passes such a law.

19. In Louisiana, you could go to jail for up to a year for making a false promise so be sure you mean it when you give your vows at your wedding. It’s hard to believe that a state would actually make it illegal to essentially lie to someone but apparently somewhere along the line, it pissed off someone so much that they actually had to make a law forbidding it. Makes you wonder what powerful politician had their spouse break the “Till death do you part” clause in their wedding vows. It really is bad when the politician is the one who was faithful.

18. While in Oregon, a person may not test their physical endurance while driving a car on a highway. Somehow doing so would qualify as speed racing along a highway which holds a penalty for many drivers. It’s a Class A traffic violation for any driver to do so within the state according to the State Driving Tesr. I am not sure I even want to know what was going on, that made the politicians think this law was needed.

17. An Owensboro, Kentucky woman may not buy a hat without her husband’s permission. Perhaps Owensboro is petrified by the fashions worn at the Kentucky Derby every year when it’s held a little over two hours away in Louisville. For this reason, they had to put some restriction on how women could buy their hats — to keep them from getting anything like those monstrosities that take over Churchill Downs. My guess is this law is off the books, but who knows?

16. Doughnut holes may not be sold in Lehigh, Nebraska. Why? Maybe Lehigh residents are purists and rather than buying into the doughnut hole craze when it came along, they decided to stay loyal to their favorite doughnuts instead. So, if you every visit Lehigh, you better be prepared to eat the entire doughnut for breakfast, not just that dinky little doughnut hole.

15. New York residents may not greet one another by putting their thumb to their nose and wiggling their fingers. More than likely, this little law fell off the books long ago. Obviously, the law dealt with one very specific circumstance. We like to think that gangs of silly people were roaming the streets and signaling to each other by thumbing their nose and wiggling their fingers. I would guess this is where the old saying “thumbing your nose” which means you reject something came from.” Then there is my friend from NY who told me it is a very old gesture of Dutch origins and actually means “kiss my *ss” .

14. In Waynesboro, Virginia, it was once illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband walks in front of the car waving a red flag. Women were probably barred from driving at all at one time so this might have been a step in the right direction for the women of Waynesboro — they had to drive behind a big red flag but at least they could get behind the wheel of a car. This is one that has obviously been removed from the books.

13. It is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions driving around the state of Washington to stop at city limits and telephone the local chief of police before entering town. Along the lines of the previously mentioned Texas anti-crime law, this measure was put into place to prevent drifters from conning people in several different towns. But, once again, if their intent is to break the law, it’s doubtful they’d follow this particular rule. Like #21’s law in Texas, this too sounds like a law put on the books just to pile and collect more revenue.

12. One-armed piano players who perform in Iowa must do so for free. Now — that just seems unfair. A one-handed piano player might be just as good or even better than a piano player with two hands. Why shouldn’t they get paid? Of course, we have a feeling that this is one of those laws that is no longer official nor still enforced by local authorities, but it does make you wonder why it was passed.

11. A person must be over the age of 18 to use a pinball machine in the state of South Carolina. This law almost makes sense — especially if you’ve seen those really racy pinball machines with images of half-naked ladies and violence painted all over them. Who would want a minor looking at all that stuff while they’re playing an arcade game. My guess is that it was passed because Pinball used to be a form of gambling. I want to know if anyone still plays pinball machines?

10. Beavers in Michigan could be fined up to $10,000 per day for building unlicensed dams, according to letters that 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.

9. In Alabama, it’s illegal to wear a funny fake mustache to church. If you want a mustache in Alabama but you also want to go to church — just don’t fake it. Grow your own because otherwise you’ll cause a stir. Church is a serious matter and if you plan on wearing a funny fake mustache then you should go somewhere else besides your local church. Another head scratcher.

8. 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 cafe. This sounds very similar to cabaret laws in New York City which prevent dancing in most bars. But this law really gets down to the nitty gritty and prevents any outward sign that you’re enjoying a piece of music at all. And that just seems a little grouchy.

7. Chicago forbids fishing while sitting on a giraffe’s neck. While we can’t imagine why someone would be riding on a giraffe’s neck in Chicago, let alone fishing, it does make sense. The combination of giraffe-level altitude and sharp hooks just doesn’t mix. The giraffe, the fisher, passersby or all of these people could get hurt. They wouldn’t have made a law if someone hadn’t done it. 6. A person may be jailed in Fargo, North Dakota for wearing a hat while dancing or wearing a hat to an event where dancing is taking place. This is probably another of those laws that is no longer current nor enforced in Fargo but it is funny to think that at one time, hats and dancing in Fargo just didn’t mix. In many other places wearing a hat while dancing is fine but if you aren’t wearing pants, then you’re in trouble.

5. Skunks may not be carried into the state of Tennessee. Look, skunks are gross no matter where they are and they tend to carry rabies which is something that you don’t want to find anywhere. Tennessee is simply trying to keep skunks out and make their state smell better in addition to keeping rabies well outside of the entire state. Does this mean Al Gore is banned from returning to Tennessee?

4. No one may cross Minnesota state lines with a duck on top of their head. This one is a little harder to explain than the Tennessee skunk law. First of all, who doesn’t like ducks? Secondly, why can’t they be carried on one’s head? Perhaps this is just another disease prevention measure — maybe residents in neighboring states tend to carry their ducks around on their heads. I'm guessing it's an accidental hunting mishap thing maybe. “”Hey George, look a duck,,,,,,,, K-Pow!””

3. In Ohio, It’s illegal to get a fish drunk. How one would even attempt to feed alcohol to a fish is beyond us unless they have the little buggers swimming in it. And that just seems cruel and dangerous. So there’s no reason to disagree with this particular law — except there’s no real indication as to how this law could regularly be enforced.

2. Next door neighbors may not lend each other vacuum cleaners in Denver, Colorado. We feel bad for people who live in Denver and don’t own their own vacuum cleaners and we probably won’t be visiting those people anytime soon due to the fact that it’s probably been some time since they’ve cleaned the carpets. However, this law more than likely fell off the books long ago and is no longer enforced. However, it does make one think that there must have been quite a powerful vacuum cleaner lobby once in Denver.

1. If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter in Florida, the parking fee must be paid just as if a car had parked there. While this may seem very odd, it’s actually not unusual for a circus elephant to end up in Florida. The Ringling Museum, located in the house where John Ringling lived, is located in Sarasota, Florida. The entire state is pretty proud of their circus elephants. Before the Circus officially closed, the circus elephants in the area where they trained them in Florida, they ended up removing all the parking meters. That's because the elephants used to mistake them for batons and pull them out of the ground with their trunks.

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