Super Random State Laws You May Have Unintentionally Already Broken
Sometimes, the written laws in a state can be even stranger than the unwritten rules. Ever wonder why New Yorkers can seem like they don’t want to speak to you? Well, there’s an actual law that could explain that.
In the United States, every single state has a few laws in their books that are true head scratchers. Some of these laws have stayed in the rule books for a long time, and some of them are recent. But all of them will leave you wondering why the law even exists in the first place. Take a look as we lay down the law, and see if your state is on this list of some of the most bizarre laws in the country.
Alabama is known for being the home of the Crimson “Roll Tide.” It is also lovingly referred to as the Heart of Dixie in the South. But even though the nicknames may suggest so, the Roll Tide State does not seem to roll with everything.
In Alabama, there’s an extremely random law that stipulates that it’s illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in a church. It is still unclear if you can wear a fake mustache that does not cause anyone to laugh in a house of worship, so if you must bring your mustache to church, just make sure you don’t get any laughs for it.
Arizona, or the Grand Canyon State, draws thousands of tourists every year for its scenic desertscapes, mountain ranges and – yes – the iconic Grand Canyon. But if you are planning to visit some parts of Arizona, you may want to take a quick trip to the dentist before you book your tickets.
That’s because in the city of Tombstone, Arizona, it is actually illegal for men and women over the age of 18 to have more than one missing tooth visible while smiling. Apparently, the town known for its Wild West roots does not want anything too wild when it comes to matters of oral health.
The official rule book in Arkansas is just about as bizarre as it could get, with some of the most head-scratching laws. Take, for example, this oddly specific law in the capital, Little Rock, which dictates that: No person shall sound the horn of a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9 p.m.
We would love to hear the story behind that peculiar law making it into the books. But we suspect there’s an even more outlandish story behind another law in the state that makes it illegal to keep alligators in a bathtub. While on the subject of odd Arkansas laws, we should mention that the state actually has legally determined the proper pronunciation of its name: Ar-kan-saw.
In Connecticut, also referred to as the Constitution State, it would not be surprising that a state named after the biggest rule book in the land would be a pretty big stickler for the rules. But what is surprising, are the peculiar rules that have found their ways into the official books.
When grocery shopping in the state, patrons might want to make sure their pickles are in fact pickles by dropping them on the floor. You heard us right. By law, in order for a pickle to officially earn its title, it must bounce. Given this odd decree, we can only wonder about the state of the floors in supermarkets throughout Connecticut.
The “Florida Man” meme is a well known pop culture sensation. But if you’re not familiar with the hilarious search engine phenomenon, just scour Google News with the phrase “Florida Man” plus your birthday and you’ll get the point. With Florida Men doing just about anything, and the arrest records to prove it, one might think anything goes in the state. But, think again.
In Florida, it is, in fact, legal to flatulate in public only after the hour of 6 p.m. So for anyone needing to pass gas before then, they’d have to find a private place to do that. This strange law seems very difficult to regulate, and we wonder if enforcers of it follow the “whoever smelt it, dealt it” rule.
Georgia is known for its deep history and its southern hospitality. We’re definitely generalizing here, but thinking of the state makes us think of a hot day is Savannah, walking the streets with a Georgia peach, and maybe even an ice cream cone. But before this dream becomes a reality, there’s an important law that everyone should know.
In Georgia, it is an actual law that no one is allowed to carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket if it is a Sunday. Any other day of the week? Fine, put that cone right in there (and please, tell us how that works out). But if it’s Sunday, don’t even think about it.
Whether Idaho likes it or not, mention of the state likely invokes references to potatoes more often than not. It may be known for a few other things, but we are going to go ahead and guess that most people do not think of camels when they think of the northwestern state. But apparently, Idaho lawmakers did.
In the Gem State, it is officially illegal to fish on a camel’s back. For those planning any hump-backed weekend excursions, stop right there! And while we’re at it, stop sweeping dirt out of your home. That’s illegal too! And for men planning to give their partner a box of candy, make sure it weighs over 50 pounds. Anything under that weight is illegal as well.
We imagine going out on a date in Iowa to include a nice pork tenderloin dinner and maybe a nice stroll on the SkyWalk in Des Moines. But when it comes to ending a romantic date in Iowa, you may want to check the law books before sharing in a goodnight kiss with a mustached man.
That’s because in Iowa it is a real (although never actually enforced) law that a man with a mustache is not allowed to kiss a woman in public. We’re not sure when mustaches became so risque in Iowa, but we don’t make these weird rules, we just relay them.
Easter time is full of a lot of unexpected traditions, like dying hard boiled eggs and having children run around collecting eggs filled with treats. But we are still not sure how this one Easter themed rule made it into Kentucky’s list of state laws.
If around Easter, or any other time of the year for that matter, you decide to do some dying, watch out. It is illegal to dye a duckling blue and sell it unless you sell six or more of those ducklings at a time. We’re not sure why you would decide to dye a duckling, but in case you do, just make sure you have more than six.
Louisiana is, in part, known for its swampy, marshy bayous. Tourists frequent the bayous for some up close and personal looks at Louisiana’s alligator population. But for some of those tourists (or, hey, even locals) who want to take a little bit of the bayou home with them, their options are, luckily, limited.
For example: Do not even think about taking one of those cuddly alligators home with you. Besides the seemingly impossible logistics behind bringing an alligator home, or frankly bringing it anywhere outside of the bayous, it is illegal. By Louisiana law, you could be sentenced to ten years behind bars for stealing an alligator.
Wake attendees in Massachusetts should make sure to pack their lunch bag accordingly. And while it probably wouldn’t cross anyone’s mind to check if there’s a regulation regarding food consumption at such events, it turns out, there is. In the state, mourners are limited to strictly three sandwiches per wake. Eating more than that would be breaking this extremely peculiar law.
Wakes are not the only way Massachusetts officials lay down the law when it comes to food. They also have strict rules on clam chowder recipes. For anyone thinking about making clam chowder in Massachusetts know this: it is illegal to use tomatoes in clam chowder there. First of all, that’s kind of gross, and why ruin a perfectly good chowder? Second of all, it’s the law.
One of the great things about the United States is that if you want to explore another state, you can cross state lines relatively freely for a nice weekend away. But if you are looking for a getaway in Minnesota, please make sure to mind your choice of head gear.
In the North Star State, it is illegal to cross state lines – both exiting and entering the state – with a duck on top of your head. We know, it seems so unfair! Also, if you plan to stay the night, please know that it is illegal to sleep in the nude.
After a long day of work, or a long day of touring in Nebraska, one might find himself parked at a local bar with a few friends. At that point, it’s probably a good idea to look down at the bar menu and skim the list of drinks to decide what to order that night.
But if a soup of the night is not listed on the menu, the establishment is technically breaking one of the state’s most random laws! A never-actually-enforced law on the rule books states that it is illegal in the state of Nebraska to sell beer unless a kettle of soup is brewed at the same time. Soup and beer might sound like a strange combination, probably because it is.
Nevada is known for its wide open, expansive swaths of land. You can seemingly go from being in the middle of the desert one minute, to pristine Lake Tahoe the next, followed by the blinding flashing lights of Las Vegas. But if you’re organizing a trip to Nevada, you should probably make sure to follow this random law.
Before planning your big Nevada road trip, secure proper transportation. That, apparently, does not include traveling by camel. When traveling on the highways in the arid state, it is strictly prohibited and totally illegal to ride a camel on the highway. We’re not so sure how one would acquire a camel there, but hey, what happens in Nevada stays there, right?
15. New Hampshire
New Hampshire is known for its abrasive motto, “Live Free or Die.” But, this free-living attitude does not mean absolutely anything goes in the Granite State. They don’t want you to live that free, after all. So it is surprising to find that New Hampshire has a super random law about ways to listen to music.
When an awesome jam comes on in public, there are particular rules dictating the permissible reaction. It is illegal to tap your feet, nod your head, or in any way keep time to music while at a tavern, a restaurant or a cafe in New Hampshire. So next time your barista plays your favorite song, keep your joy to yourself!
16. New York
New Yorkers, especially those living in New York City, are sometimes given a bad rap for being a little … let’s say “standoffish.” With over 8.5 million people in the Big Apple pushing and shoving their way through the city, one visit makes you start to understand why they get their reputations.
But don’t blame New Yorkers, standoffish attitudes are basically written into their laws! Ever wonder why no one will talk to you on the long elevator rides up massive skyscrapers? That’s maybe because it is law in the state that while riding an elevator, you cannot talk to anyone, and must fold your hands and look toward the door. Okay, this law isn’t really enforced, so maybe they just don’t want to speak to you.
17. North Carolina
North Carolina is not particularly known for pumping out top-charting hit singers. The Tar Heel State has had some success, with acts like The Dream, Nina Simone, and Earl Scruggs going on to have successful music careers. But we can safely say that North Carolina is known more for making sports legends than it is for making musical legends.
So who would have thought that North Carolina would have strict laws on stretching your vocal chords? In the state, it is officially illegal to sing off key. One would think that with laws against terrible singing, North Carolina would have contributed a few more famous performers to the Billboard top ranks.
18. North Dakota
Maybe you had a hard day in North Dakota. Maybe it was one of those days that dragged on for way too long and you cannot wait to get into bed and fall asleep. But not so fast! You have to make sure you do one important step before you pass out for the night, or you could risk breaking the law in North Dakota.
We wary of falling asleep with your shoes on as it is not only uncomfortable to sleep in footwear, but also illegal in the state. We are not exactly sure how North Dakota ever planned on regulating this law, but we won’t question this one because wearing your shoes to bed is just downright wrong for so many reasons.
Ohio, also known as Buckeye State, is the host of the world famous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which celebrates years of some of the best acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But if you plan on wearing rock-style fashion get-ups to the museum, think again.
That is because in Ohio it is strictly prohibited for women to wear patent leather shoes in public. Staying at home with your favorite patent leather shoes? Fine. Going out with a pair of real leather shoes? Sure, that works! But donning your shiniest patent leather footwear is, oddly enough, not allowed for women.
Dust, extreme weather and a namesake musical by the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein are most likely some of Oklahoma’s top claims to fame. A likely lesser-known fun fact about Oklahoma is that it ranks among the top 10 in the nation for the most dog owners. So, an average walk in the Sooner State will likely involved a few dog run-ins.
And if you are trying to bond with some of these pups, make sure you mind your face. In Oklahoma, it is illegal to make “ugly faces” at dogs. If you’re caught making an “ugly face” at someone’s dog, you could be fined or even jailed for your grave error in judgment. Good ‘lil boys and girls must be treated as such here.
Pennsylvania was once home to the former capital of the United States, Philadelphia, and hosts the site where the U.S. Constitution was created and signed. So it could be said that Pennsylvania does not just have laws, but that the state created the laws that govern most of the country. But judging by some of the state’s more peculiar laws, we are glad it didn’t write every rule for the country.
For example, if you are fishing in one of Pennsylvania’s streams or rivers, by no means are you allowed to catch a fish with your mouth. It is, however, legal to catch a fish with literally any other body part except for the mouth. Save the whole fish-in-mouth thing for when the fish is cooked and ready to be eaten for dinner.
22. South Dakota
With the world running at such a fast pace, we would welcome a nap just about anywhere. And when looking at the law books for South Dakota, it seems that we are not the only ones. In fact, South Dakota had to write a law that regulates a very specific type of nap.
In the Mount Rushmore state, it is illegal to lie down and fall asleep inside of a cheese factory. But as cheese lovers over here, we could not think of a better place to take a nap. Think about it, you get to wake up and eat more cheese. That’s what we call a good morning!
It has become a running joke and the inspiration behind a few memes that no one ever actually pays for their own Netflix account. Many are using login credentials for a Netflix account that belongs to a friend’s mother’s cousin or any pairing of random connection. If you don’t pay for a Netflix account, it’s become common to just find someone whose parents pay for one and share passwords and monthly fees.
Most of the bizarre laws on this list are the products of old rules that were just never taken off of the books. But in this case, this oddly specific law is actually very new. In Tennessee, it’s illegal to use someone else’s Netflix account. So you’d better disconnect from your friend or relative’s account before anyone finds out.
Most people know about the tale of Sasquatch – an upright standing ape-like creature that dwells in the woods. If you do not know him as Sasquatch, you may know him by his nickname, Big Foot. The folklore has caused a few people to claim they’ve seen the mythical creature, but so far there has been no evidence of Big Foot’s existence.
So if you are looking to find Sasquatch on your own, Washington State has some guidelines. It is actually a real law that if you find Sasquatch and then kill him, you are guilty of a misdemeanor and face a fine, jail or both. The law clarifies that the term “Sasquatch” also includes “Yeti,” “Bigfoot,” and “Giant, Hairy Ape.”
25. West Virginia
Nearly every parent and child has heard of the swear jar. If you say a curse word, you put an allotted amount of money into a jar in the hopes that it breaks your nasty habit of cursing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just means you have a jar filled with a good amount of money and want to curse its existence.
For West Virginia, the state has its own type of swear jar. That’s because it is a real law that if you curse, swear, or get publicly intoxicated, you can be fined exactly one dollar for your misdeed. If you’ve ever spent any time walking around West Virginia, you can only imagine how much money is in their swear jar.
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