We might see ourselves as a paragon of democracy, for most of the year, but that doesn’t mean some odd state laws haven’t crept onto the books.
That’s a lot of legislation. Make sure you don’t miss a thing.
The states are 17 times more productive than Congress
That’s a lot of legislation. Make sure you don’t miss a thing.Learn More
So, this July 4 weekend we thought we’d lighten the mood with a round up of the oddest from all 50 states.
Most we’d take with a pinch of salt (or squirrel as in Montana, below).
To see which states you’ll need to pay to park your elephant in, or where you’ll be fined for swearing in public, read on
Alabama: Heading to church on Sunday? Don’t wear your fake mustache. Especially if it would cause laughter.
Alaska: As you might imagine a lot of Alaska’s unique laws involve wild animals such as: Don’t wake a bear to take a photo (probably never a good idea to wake a sleeping bear). You also can’t give a moose a beer. Probably another good idea.
Arizona: We’re skeptical about this one (and several others) but it’s illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs.
Arkansas: Forget the phonetics. You’re not allowed to mispronounce the state’s name.
California: Got a frog-jumping contest planned? No problem. Just don’t eat any frogs that happen to die while jumping. That’s illegal.
Colorado: No drinking while riding. Yes, riding. Not driving. A horse specifically.
Connecticut: Yes, it’s definitely not a pickle unless it bounces. No word on how high.
Delaware: Got married in jest or for a dare? No worries, that’s grounds for annulment.
Florida: Thinking of taking your elephant to town? Don’t think you can shirk on the parking meter fee. If you tie him up, you need to pay the fee.
Georgia: You must not keep an ice-cream cone in your back pocket on Sundays. The rest of the week it’s fine. Messy, but fine.
Hawaii: Coins must not be placed in ears. Can’t see change being made on this one any time soon. Boom!
Idaho: A man must not give his fiancé a box of candy weighing over 50lbs. Presumably so she can still fit into her wedding dress.
Illinois: It’s illegal to take a nap in a cheese factory, bakery or creamery.
Indiana: You mustn’t catch a fish with your bare hands. Probably not a problem for most fishermen and women.
Iowa: Got only one arm but still determined to play the piano? Don’t expect to make a living in Iowa. One-armed pianists must play for free.
Kansas: Do you own a gambling device? If so you could be in trouble. Unless it’s a pre-1950s antique.
Kentucky: Don’t dye your chicks or ducklings or you could be in for a big fine.
Louisiana: Be careful before you gift someone a pizza. You could be fined $500 if it’s delivered to their house without their knowledge.
Maine: Here’s one we’ve all been guilty of. It’s illegal to keep Christmas decorations up after January 14.
Maryland: Don’t spit on the sidewalk. Hear, hear!
Massachusetts: Although it might spice up your next 18 holes, exploding golf balls are not allowed. First time offenders could be fined up to $500
Michigan: It’s illegal for women to cut their own hair without their husband’s permission. Eh, right.
Minnesota: Red cars may not drive down Lake Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Obviously this isn’t enforced, but we’d love to know where it came from.
Mississippi: Swearing in public might not just make bystanders uncomfortable. It could also cost you in fines.
Missouri: If a sheriff happens to be imprisoned in his or her own jail, then the coroner’s in charge.
Montana: Hungry? You can scoop up that road kill you just passed and eat it legally.
Nebraska: Don’t give your daughter a perm without a permit.
Nevada: Got a mustache? Don’t even think about smooching your lady friend. That’s illegal.
New Hampshire: Gathering seaweed? Don’t do it after sundown.
New Jersey: Wearing a bulletproof vest while attempting murder is illegal. So presumably is the actual murder.
New Mexico: Don’t mess with the national anthem. If you’re going to sing it, you have to sing the whole thing, start to finish.
New York: If you and your friends are wearing masks and congregating or hanging about, you could be picked up for illegal loitering. Be careful this Halloween.
North Carolina: Bingo games should not last more than 5 hours.
North Dakota: You can’t serve beer and pretzels together. Well, obviously.
Ohio: Man bites dog. Or policemen at least are allowed to if they think it will calm the dog down.
Oklahoma: Horse tipping and bear wrestling are both outlawed in Oklahoma.
Oregon: Carrying anyone under age 18 on an external part of your car is illegal.
Pennsylvania: Are you a fortuneteller in the Keystone State? Don’t tell someone where to dig for buried treasure or whip up a love potion or you might be breaking the law.
Rhode Island: You may not sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same person on a Sunday. Presumably to prevent them brushing their teeth.
South Carolina: Anyone under 18 is forbidden to use a pinball machine.
South Dakota: There are lots of laws that make firework use illegal, but in South Dakota farmers can use them to scare away birds from their sunflowers. Just the sunflowers, though.
Tennessee: Nothing archaic about this one. You can’t share your Netflix password.
Texas: Short of cash in Texas? Just don’t think you can sell one of your eyeballs. That’s illegal.
Utah: The state has several strict alcohol laws, including Zion curtains where bartenders in restaurants are required to work behind partitions when preparing alcoholic drinks.
Vermont: You better take your hunting serious here. Shooting birds for amusement is forbidden.
Virginia: This might be our favorite. It’s against the law for a woman to drive a car on Main Street unless her husband is walking in front of the car waving a red flag.
Washington: You can be fined or arrested for harassing Bigfoot. Of course you’ll have to find him first …
West Virginia: Whistling underwater is forbidden. Not to mention next to impossible.
Wisconsin: It’s illegal to serve butter substitutes in prison. Standards, people.
Wyoming: Don’t take a photo of a rabbit January to April without a permit. Rabbits have a right to privacy too, you know.