There are a lot of essential state laws that make up the backbone and structure of American society, laws that were created to protect the citizens who are to abide by them. There is no doubt that they are essential and are intended to keep order and peace within a community of people.
However, there are some laws that are just straight up bizarre. Some laws on this list will really make you scratch your head and wonder, “What the heck could have been the reason behind the creation of this law?”
I mean, why, just why on earth is it illegal to have a donkey sleeping in a bathtub in Arizona? And how did this situation come about in the first place? What, you had nowhere else for your pet donkey to sleep that night? [Checkout #5 For The Answer]
There are definitely some very strange laws in every state in America. Check out this list of the wackiest laws in each and every state. You won’t believe some of the random and absolutely outrageous laws exist in America to this day.
Check out the craziest law in your home state. Were you aware of it? Have you ever committed this illegal act? Maybe you did in the last hour!
Guaranteed, some of these laws are just straight outrageous. Find out which laws are still enforced to this day. Here are the most shocking ones from each state.
20. I Can’t Believe It IS Butter, No Substitutes For Prisoners In Wisconsin
If you are a prisoner in the state of Wisconsin and you love your fair share of butter, have no fear! According to Wisconsin state law, it is illegal to serve butter substitutes in prison.
There will not be any sign of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or margarine spread for Wisconsin’s prisoners, no sir! Quite frankly, it is surprising that this is a law because it would seem to be more cost efficient to use butter substitutes when serving to a large number of inmates in Wisconsin prisons.
Apparently, this state just really loves their butter and substitutes won’t do, even for their prisoners. Butter substitutes were illegal in the entire state of Wisconsin up until 1967. To this day, it is illegal to serve butter substitutes in public places like restaurants, unless a customer specifically asks for some.
A few lawmakers tried to overturn the law in 2011 but failed in their efforts. Under the law, students, patients, and inmates in state institutions will be served butter with meals unless a doctor specifically mandates margarine for their health. Margarine in a Wisconsin grocery store is only sold by the pound, colored a certain shade of yellow, and labeled in letters of a specific size.
19. Better Watch Your Tongue Down In West Virginia
Did you know that it is illegal to use profanity in public in the whole state of West Virginia? That means if you slip an accidental, “OH, SH*T!!” while tripping and falling off the sidewalk at Target and there happens to be a cop nearby, they could technically arrest you.
Try not to worry too much though. The fine for using profanity in public is only $1. But be sure to be careful if you find yourself in the state of Mississippi about to use profane language in public. Mississippi law says that using profane language carries a fine of up to $100. That’s a big chunk of change for a slip of the F-bomb.
Also, if you find yourself floating in a lake in West Virginia and you decide to dunk your head underwater and whistle a little tune, you better prepare yourself for a tough time. Whistling underwater is also illegal. So uh, don’t do it, it’s very bad. Which also begs the question, how would someone even do that?
18. Washington Cares About Bigfoot and Sasquatch
Bigfoot and Sasquatch are just an urban legend to many Washingtonians. Even though there have been numerous sightings, videos and pictures, there is still no scientific evidence that supports the existence of Bigfoot. Nonetheless, the myth lives on.
If you do happen to be walking through the deep woods in Washington and spot yourself a Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or any other undiscovered subspecies—definitely don’t harass or terrorize said species because it can be punishable by law.
Definitely don’t shoot at one of these creatures because you may be found guilty of homicide! The people of Washington are so concerned with Bigfoot that they created a Bigfoot sanctuary that protects the mythical creature from gun-toting hunters.
In fact, it is a felony that could cause you to spend some time in prison. The law was filed under the Undiscovered Species Protection Act, at the height of Bigfoot Fever in 1969. So you know, if you see Bigfoot, be nice.
17. Dental Permission In Vermont
If you are a married woman in the state of Vermont and you are in need of some false teeth, don’t even think about making that dental appointment before discussing the matter with your husband first. You must get your hubby’s permission before going to get a new set of shiny dentures.
This law is real and still implicated to this day, but no one is really clear on how this law became real to begin with. In 2016, it seems outrageous to think you would need written permission from your spouse to do anything, much less do some basic hygiene.
Speaking of hygiene, there is a similar law over in Michigan that says that women have to get their husband’s permission before getting a haircut. So, if you were hoping to get a new summer cut, better go talk to your man. Be sure to bring photos of examples of the style you want. How else is he supposed to make a decision?
And if you don’t have a husband? You have to go ask your dad; talk about a weird conversation!
16. You Must Pay For Elephant Parking In Florida
If you’ve decided to take your elephant out for a ride instead of your car today, don’t forget to pay the parking meter. Before you tie up your elephant in that parking spot, make sure to put a few coins in, or he may not be there when you get back!
You can actually receive a ticket for failing to pay for parking, despite your mode of transportation. Florida law actually states that any mode of transportation must have parking paid for it including elephants, horses, and camels.
The law most likely dates back to the twenties when the Ringling Bros. Circus moved their winter shows down to Florida. Maybe too many circus folks were parking their elephants all over town.
To be fair, if a parking officer saw an elephant on the street I don’t think their first question they would be asking about is if the meter is paid. But maybe back in the day they had all kinds of questions we wouldn’t think of.
Leave it to Florida to come up with something truly bizarre.
15. I’m Not Sure About The Trains In Kansas…
Hey, not to bash Kansas or anything but has anyone looked at this law recently? Kansas law states that “If two trains meet on the same track, neither shall proceed until the other has passed.”
It may sound like fancy legal mumbo jumbo, but that literally does not make any sense. Who approved this law? How can neither proceed until the other one has passed?
It’s like when you are about to go through a doorway and someone else goes to walk through at the same time… “You go ahead.” “No, you go right ahead.” “No please, after you.” We’ll be sitting here all day!
This strange and confusing law also exists in Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The story has it that the law was created by a government official who purposely worded the law proposal poorly on the bill, in hopes that his colleagues would find humor in the ridiculous wording of the bill and surely reject it. However, that was not the case, as the bill was approved and it became a law.
Guess the joke is on…Kansas?
14. Don’t Dye Your Ducks In Kentucky
Huh? That’s right, in Kentucky, it is actually illegal to dye a duckling blue and offer it up for sale. But don’t fret, if you have six little blue dyed ducklings, go right ahead and place them up for sale.
So if anyone has the urge to dye their baby ducklings a nice robin’s egg blue or canary red before putting the birdies on the market, make sure you’ve got at least a half a dozen around!
With such an outrageous and specific law, it makes you wonder where on earth it must have come from. Well, you’re about to find out.
This peculiar law was introduced in 1966 and was intended to regulate the dying of fur. So maybe it’s not exactly referring to dying baby ducks blue, but it does include it technically. Fur clothing was very popular during that time period and the law was created to control the sale of animals like ducklings, chicks, and rabbits.
13. Don’t Send Someone A Surprise Pizza In Louisiana
Via Feast of StarlightRemember in the film, The Princess Diaries, when Mia sends Michael a pizza with “I’m sorry L” written with M&M’s? Well, good thing she was in San Francisco and not Louisiana because she could be arrested for something like that!
Louisiana state law states that it is illegal to surprise someone at their home with a pizza. Well, not just pizza, but anything really! Anyone found doing so will be fined up to $500.
You know what, just don’t send anyone anything in Louisiana to be on the safe side. Surprise birthday gift delivered to your girlfriend’s door? Not so romantic if it ends with you in handcuffs!
The state made it illegal in 1999 to place an order for any goods or services for someone without their knowledge.
How about flowers on Valentine’s Day? Does this mean people in Louisiana can’t send edible arrangements? That would be a travesty.
12. Don’t Collect Seaweed At Night In New Hampshire
Apparently, it is illegal in New Hampshire to carry away or collect seaweed at night. So you know, don’t get into any trouble going through seaweed after dark.
This law is probably not strictly enforced to this day, as it has little relevance. It is thought to have emerged back in the twenties when seaweed was used as one of the main ingredients in fertilizer. Seaweed was in high demand to mix into famers soil.
As farming was the main source of food, obviously fertilizer is essential for growing healthy crops. Seaweed resources weren’t unlimited at the time, so government officials regulated the harvesting.
New Hampshire’s government also didn’t want people snooping around at night and taking more than their fair share of seaweed, hard to blame them there! After all, do enough late night raiding and it could give one farmer a big advantage over another in the success of the growth of their crops.
11. Indiana Feels Strongly About Facial Hair
It is a law in Indiana that mustaches are deemed illegal if the bearer has a tenancy to habitually kiss someone. So if you are married you cannot have a beard. I wonder if there was a woman with a continuously scratched lip from her bearded husband behind this rule of legislation.
It is said that in the early 1970s, the Indiana Supreme Court declared that while yes, it is a man’s constitutional right to wear a mustache, it is not a federally protected right. Meaning, the state can legislate against certain kinds of facial hair.
“Liberty,” Indiana Supreme Court Justice Roger DeBruler wrote in 1972, “. . . even provides constitutional protection for such personal choices as the style of one’s hair, whether to wear a beard or mustache.”
So at least you can feel free to do whatever it is you want with your face, just don’t be hitting up every woman in the club!
10. Watch Out For Fortune Tellers In Pennsylvania
If you are feeling curious and want to visit a fortune teller in the state of Pennsylvania, go right ahead, but don’t even think about asking the fortune teller where to dig for buried treasure. Think you might have a hunch about some secret treasure? First of all, quit playing pirates and go back to your day job, and second of all, it is illegal!
Pennsylvania law says that fortune telling is to be for “entertainment purposes only” and you cannot ask a fortune teller, tarot reader, or psychics for any monetary compensation.
Most fortune telling business storefronts have a sign announcing that the business is for entertainment only.
The crime of fortunetelling is a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of incarceration and a $2,500 fine pursuant to section 7104 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. It is also illegal to charge someone money to cast spells or hexes. All of these forms of magic and superstition fall under the broad term “fortune telling” under Pennsylvania law.
9. No Netflix Password Sharing In Tennessee
Everyone shares their Netflix password with friends, don’t they? It doesn’t matter if they are your boyfriend’s sister’s best friend’s brother. As long as someone in your wide range of friends and acquaintances has a Netflix account, you’re good, right?
Not in Tennessee. In this southern state, it was made illegal to share your Netflix account password with anyone. The law was enacted in 2011 and originally aimed at hackers who were selling passwords in bulk. The law also includes streaming services like Hulu Plus and HBO Go.
The law was also created in an attempt to reduce and prevent illegal downloading. But it is not just for hackers, it affects all Tennessee citizens. I’m sure the streaming services do not mind the resulting added business in Tennessee. Not to mention maybe you’d even be able to still find a video rental place because of it.
Good luck explaining why you can’t share your Netflix account password with your BFF Jill who wants to watch the newest season of Orange is the New Black.
8. Don’t Sleep On The Gouda In South Dakota
Who doesn’t love cheese? Cheese is the best.
Suppose you find yourself in somewhere in South Dakota visiting a cheese factory. You go on a cheese tasting tour and eat so much cheese you get full and fall asleep in a corner somewhere. No big deal, right? Wrong!
Not such a relaxing day at the cheese factory after all. South Dakota law says that it is illegal to sleep in a cheese factory, which also means that if you work in a cheese factory you better not take any unplanned naps.
This law was issued in 1948. If you really want to sleep among the cheese, there is a loophole to this law. You can sleep in a cheese factory, as long as the cheese is in sealed packages. Let’s just hope if do work in a cheese factory and fall asleep, you won’t end up in some legal trouble as well as being fired!
7. No Bear Wrestling In Oklahoma
If you were hoping to reenact Leo DiCaprio’s bear wrestling scene from The Revenant in the good ‘ol state of Oklahoma, you’ll have to find another location for your match.
It is illegal in Oklahoma to wrestle a bear. Oklahoma must have an excess of crazy people living in the state because in most States, it’s not too often you find someone looking to get into an altercation with a bear.
This law was first enforced in 1996 because apparently, some drunken people in local bars were attempting to wrestle bears, even drugging bears for the purpose of wrestling them. What can you say, drunk people do some stupid things.
The law was part of a statute against animal cruelty for the purpose of entertainment. It’s safe to assume this law is similar to ones intending to eliminate illegal dog and chicken fights.
Plus, it is probably just dumb to get in a fight with a bear. Especially while intoxicated.
6. Control Your Cannibalism in Rhode Island
Rhode Island law states that if you are caught biting off another person’s limb, you will be sentenced to 1-20 years in jail. Twenty years is a pretty wide range of prison time. Do you get more time for a leg than if you were to bite off a finger?
What about a chunk of an ear like Mike Tyson did to Evander Holyfield? 6 months? Two years?
“Every person who shall voluntarily, maliciously, or of purpose put out an eye, slit the nose, ear, or lip, or cut off, bite off, or disable any limb or member of another shall be imprisoned.”
So technically, this law doesn’t address just biting another person’s limb off, but also chopping, cutting, disabling, slitting, etc. (oh, joy).
To be fair, if you’re in an altercation with someone else and they’ve lost a limb, you’re probably doing something that warrants police investigation!
5. No Donkey In A Bathtub In Arizona
In Arizona, it is illegal to have a donkey sleeping in a bathtub, so make sure there are no lullabies if the donkey is getting a bath!
Why of all places, a bathtub would seem like the appropriate place for a donkey to get a little shut-eye continues to be a mystery. Maybe the donkey got in a fight with his wife and was sent to sleep in the bathroom. Who knows?
Arizona enacted this anti-donkey sleeping law starting back in the 1920s after a dam had broken and flooded a rancher’s property that was home to a donkey who was sleeping in a bathtub. So… this law was created in memorial of this man’s donkey?
Sounds like a strange donkey, and probably a stranger rancher. Similar to this law, in South Carolina, it is illegal to keep a horse in a bathtub. I guess you better factor in the cost of a sleeping arrangement the next time you mull over buying a horse or a donkey!
4. No Fake Mustaches In Alabama
In the state of Alabama, it is illegal to wear a false mustache that causes people to laugh in church. Apparently, this law was deemed necessary to maintain the dignity of church services.
What, did they have a mass influx of men with false mustaches telling jokes at church? Apparently, there was enough of an issue with false mustaches that a law needed to be created to stop it.
I guess it’s OK to wear a fake mustache as long as you don’t want to make someone laugh. So no funny business!
There’s not much debate these days about whether the law is an attempt at preserving order or a brazen assault on the First Amendment. At the very least, police don’t seem to be enforcing the obsolete statute. It also makes you wonder, who’s even been on their way to church and said “wait! I almost forgot my fake mustache!”
3. Don’t Eat The Racing Frogs In Cali
Ever had frog leg soup? It’s actually quite tasty – if you don’t think about the whole eating a frog’s legs part.
Well, in California, you are only able to eat frogs that have not died during a frog-jumping contest. Is this because they don’t want to eat their champion racing frogs?
This law was enacted because California Fish and Game code found that some frogs conceal harmful chemicals after dying in these races. By the way, where are these frog races happening exactly? Has anyone ever seen one?
This law was most likely created to prevent accidental consumption of a potentially poisonous substance. There must have been an issue with people having had been poisoned. Which makes sense, but it is still quite strange that California needed to clarify which frogs they can and cannot eat. While it seems a bit ridiculous from the outset, at least there is some safety logic behind the law.
2. Bouncing Pickles In Connecticut
When you were growing up, did your mom ever make you throw a penny on your bed after you made it and tell you the sheets had to be so flat the penny should bounce? I don’t know about you, but my penny never bounced.
But over in Connecticut, if you want to label a produce item officially as a “pickle,” the pickle must bounce. I wonder if there is some official bounce test the pickles have to pass.
This law came about way back in the 1800s. A group of men attempted to sell cucumbers disguised as pickles for a higher price tag around town. After police officials discovered the fraud, the law was established. While this law is outdated, and most likely not enforced today, it was a relevant issue at the time of its creation. I guess now we all know, a pickle is only a real pickle if it bounces.
1. No Wedding Bells For HIV Positive Citizens in Nebraska
In Nebraska, it has been made illegal for anyone with a venereal disease to get married. The same law also states that an individual must be older than seventeen to marry.
Does this mean that Nebraska citizens are required to get an STD test before they can get married? Probably not, as it has been reported that this Nebraska law is actually quite easy to get around and hardly enforced in the first place anymore.
It is fantastic that the law is not enforced, especially considering the progress that the government has made with marriage laws. Gay marriage was just officially deemed legal this past year. Something like not allowing citizens to marry because of a sexually transmitted disease is not sending the message to the people of Nebraska that they are all treated equally.
Nebraska definitely takes the cake for some majorly weird laws. The state has also deemed it illegal for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license.