Top 10 Weirdest U.S. State Laws
For this list, we’ve collected the strangest state legislation in existence. Basically, we’re looking at old, obsolete and unforced rules that are nonetheless quite amusing. In other words, as long as they’re believed to be real, or had been in the past, and/or have become urban legends, they could be on here, so we’re being quite loose with the word ‘law’.
#10: Pronunciation Is Key
In Arkansas (that’s right, ‘Ar-kan-saw!), it really doesn’t do to skip the silent ‘s’. Although it’s probably the most mispronounced state name in America, to say Arkansas incorrectly within the state itself is technically illegal. Prohibited by an 1881 act of state legislature made in an effort to preserve state heritage, ‘Arkansas’ is the French pronunciation of a native Siouan word meaning, ‘land of downriver people’, or ‘people of the south wind’. So next time you’re in the area, don’t pull a Dorothy because you’re ‘not in Ar-kan-sas anymore’ because if you were, you won’t be for long.
#9: Pack a Pillow for the Bus
If you’re female and you ever find yourself on a bus in Seattle, then remember this; in Seattle, it’s illegal for a woman to sit on a man’s lap, on a bus, without first placing a pillow between them. No one particularly likes to see PDAs on public transport, but the authorities in this Washington city really can crackdown on couples that get too close. Quite apart from the general ridiculousness of the rule however, unless of course you routinely carry a cushion, the gender specifics are hilarious, and presumably mean that men may sit on any lap they please, entirely un-pillowed.
#8: The One Beer Rule
If you’re ever planning on a big night in the Aloha State, then expect many, many trips to the bar. Because, in Hawaii it’s illegal for anyone to have more than one alcoholic beverage in front of them at any one time. Probably a rule that most of us abide without realizing it, it does mean that tables full of discarded shot glasses are an impossibility. But hey, at least it saves you and your buddies from an especially severe hangover. Hawaii’s just not as fun if you’re feeling queasy.
#7: A Burger Between Friends
With so many burgers and so little time, some people strive to sample them all by taking a bite out of his or her friend’s as well as his or her own. But, in Oklahoma, to do so is not tolerated, and eating another’s hamburger equates to illegal activity. It’s a restaurant rule to ensure that we all get only what we paid for, but thankfully it doesn’t extend to include fries or a drink. Everything else on the menu is shareable, sneakable and generally available for more than one person; it’s just the Royale (with or without cheese) that’ll land you in legal hot water.
#6: Only Sober Moose Allowed
An especially well known weird law in America, the Fairbanks, Alaska alcoholic moose law is less stringently imposed nowadays. But, the act of feeding moose alcohol is still considered an offence, even though instances of the rule being broken must be incredibly rare. As much as the idea of a moose on Grey Goose makes us laugh, there probably is a violation of animal rights involved somewhere, not to mention the health, safety and hygiene implications. If you’re watching this and you are a moose and you’re offended, then you’ve probably had too much alcohol for one night anyway!
#5: Strictly Missionary
When getting frisky in Florida, it’s best to keep to the basics – because any sex position other than missionary is not only considered inappropriate, but illegal. The state of Montana also has a similar law, and in North Carolina the rule is lengthened, as the mandatory missionary can only be conducted in a room where the shades are pulled. If you keep a copy of the Kama Sutra in these states then you’re asking for trouble, but you’re probably having more fun than most people as well.
#4: Don’t Monkey Around with Cigarettes
As statewide smoking bans become increasingly commonplace in the modern world, legislation linked to cigarettes rarely surprises us anymore. However, the state of Indiana feels it necessary to implement a very particular tobacco-based rule, making it illegal for anyone to force a monkey to smoke. The law dates back to a 1924 incident, in which a monkey was convicted for smoking in the city of South Bend, and ordered to pay a $25 fine, plus court expenses. Historically, there have been cases of smoking addiction in primates, but even so, it’s the strangest smoking law we know!
#3: Sex with Small Animals Only
Our third-weirdest but definitely grossest state law, in West Virginia it’s legal for a man to have sex with an animal, as long as that animal does not exceed 40 lbs in weight. As part of what seems an ultra-strange bid to regulate bestiality, this law leaves the likes of sheep, most goats and dogs off the menu for men, but says that rodents, some reptiles and most cats are OK. Everything about this rule is just wrong, on so many sexually concerning levels. Plus, through protective pet-ownership, it could indirectly cause animal obesity – spayed, neutered, or otherwise.
#2: Third Time Unlucky
You’re allowed to have a bit of bedroom fun in Arizona, just not too much of it! Because, in the Grand Canyon State it’s illegal to have more than two dildos in any household. Apparently owning two sex toys is fine and respectable, but have three of the things and you’re rampantly sexual and out of control. A ‘buzz kill’ if ever we’ve heard one, it’s a law to limit vibrator variety, and causes a particular problem for those living with several friends who are fellow sex toy-users. And we all know improvisation never ends well…
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
No ‘Miss’ Santa Claus!
Don’t Drink and Dance
No Child Belching Before God!
Be Nice to Mice
Illegal Eye Shadow
#1: No Shoes Before Sleep
Today’s winner, and the weirdest state law of all, sees authorities in North Dakota decide what its citizens can and can’t wear while sleeping. In the state, it’s illegal to fall asleep while still wearing shoes, especially when lying down. Shoed sleeping in a chair or on your feet isn’t particularly encouraged either, but if you’re found in bed, wearing sneakers, then technically you could be in trouble. Like some other laws on today’s countdown however, it’s a rule rarely enforced with conviction. But, to be on the safe side, best always wear your laces loose, just in case!
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