The Weirdest Law in Every State in America

Photo by 68/Ocean/Corbis. Design by Erik Mace for Yahoo Travel

By Kristin Hunt

Although it’s fun to think that some congressman pushed a law banning donkeys from bathtubs, most “weird laws” you find online are complete fantasy. But there is certainly an odd collection of U.S. legislation still on the books, so we decided to wade through the fake ones in order to break down each state’s weirdest law.

While some of them showcase what ‘Murica is all about (free roadkill!), others are borderline fascist (what do you mean we can’t play with exploding golf balls?). Brush up on the legalese below, and make sure you leave your bulletproof vest behind on your next journey to New Jersey to murder someone.

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The state constitution makes it illegal for any “idiots” or insane people to vote. Bad news for your buddy Pat, who’s been itching to mount a write-in campaign for “Bonerz” for state senate.


Photo: Wikicommons/Ryan Hagerty

Clearly Alaska used to throw some wild parties in the woods, because the state now has a law on the books that bars you from giving a moose a beer. Giving a mouse a cookie remains fair game.


Even though they’d love it, you can’t feed pigs garbage unless you have a special permit in AZ. One that needs to be renewed each January, so really think hard about how much you want to give that hog your newspaper.


Mispronouncing the state name is strictly forbidden, so just leave your grandma and her fancy ‘Ar-can-zuss'es at home next time.


Looking to put on a “frog-jumping contest”? Of course you are. But if any of the frogs die, you cannot eat them. So much for fresh frog legs.


Since a horse is technically a vehicle, you’re not allowed to enjoy a Dale’s Pale Ale on horseback. Or any booze, for that matter.


For a pickle to legally be called a pickle, it must bounce, proving Connecticut residents are also devotees of the five-second rule.


If next week’s game of truth or dare in Johnny’s parents’ basement gets too real, don’t worry: getting married because of “jest or dare” is grounds for annulment.

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Photo: Paramount Pictures

This highly sensitive Wolf of Wall Street scene wouldn’t fly in FL. All establishments with a liquor license are prohibited from holding any contest, promotion, or activity that endangers a person with dwarfism. And that definitely includes throwing.


Using profane language to a person under 14 in person or by telephone is considered disorderly conduct in Georgia. But if that kid’s 15, say whatever you want.


As of 2013, car passengers who don’t wear seat belts are subject to $100 fines. If all the seats are full, though, don’t worry: it’s totally legal for anyone over 12 years old to hang out in the bed of the truck. In the open. With zero protection.


Under a chapter titled “Mayhem,” Idaho lays out why eating other people is not cool, guys. Cannibalism will get you up to 14 years in prison… except in extreme cases where you had to eat your friend to survive. And if that’s the case, you’ve already been punished enough.


Taking a snooze in a cheese factory, bake shop, confectionery, or creamery is illegal under Illinois’ Sanitary Food Preparation Act. Should you want to seduce that Gouda in the privacy of your own home, though, go right ahead.


You may not catch fish with your bare hands anywhere in Indiana. Obviously, Indiana has a completely unrealistic view of your fishing skills.


Boxes used to package hops are supposed to be exactly 36 inches long, so if you’re planning to pack that stuff in a 37 inches box, get the hell out of Iowa.


Owning any “gambling device” is a Kansas crime of public morals, unless it’s an antique slot machine made prior to 1950. Then it’s just “this thing you stole from TGI Fridays.”

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Photo: Flickr/Alex Starr

Dye a baby chick, duckling, or rabbit any hue of the rainbow in Kentucky and you’ll be charged a $100-$500 fine. You’re also not allowed to sell them. Since this only pertains to live animals, you’re presumably in the clear if you’re gifted a deceased green chick. Should you want to keep that gift, though, you may have some other issues to address.


“Insulting or abusive remarks” are forbidden at any boxing match, so please restrict your trash-talking to your daughter’s tee-ball game. It doesn’t matter if scores aren’t kept, THAT GIRL WITH THE PIGTAILS TOTALLY BUNTED IT, C'MON.


Provided you obtain a license, you’re free to host a raffle for your non-profit in Maine. But the prize cannot be alcohol or a live animal, so you’ll have to look elsewhere to finally win that family of Midori llamas you’re always talking about.


Though the Old Line State is presumably a fan of safe sex, it has a provision barring anyone from selling non-latex condoms in vending machines. Which makes us wonder what kind of weird stuff they do sell in public men’s bathrooms.


Although they would make the Golf Channel 100 times more exciting, exploding golf balls are not allowed in MA. First-time violators get a fine of up to $500, but don’t make this a career, because repeat offenders can earn jail time.


Michigan bars you from being inebriated on a train in Act 68 of 1913. Probably a fair call, but how the hell does Amtrak stay in business in this state?


In a flagrant show of disrespect for old-timey farmers everywhere, Minnesota made greased pig contests and turkey scrambles unlawful.


Photo: Wikimedia/Beth

Have one illegitimate child? Not a problem. But you’ll be facing misdemeanor charges as soon as that second kid pops out.


Sheriffs can be imprisoned in their own county jail (presumably when they go rogue) and if that happens, MO law stipulates that the coroner is in charge of the jail. Doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of skill overlap there, unless Missouri sheriffs also remove prisoners’ small intestines upon booking.


Just two years ago, MT passed a law which allows you to salvage roadkill for meat. Street squirrel: it’s what’s for dinner.


Marriage law in the Cornhusker State includes some normal provisions, like a minimum age of 17, and some less-normal ones, like a statute preventing any person with a venereal disease from marrying.


Throwing things from a chairlift is illegal in Nevada, much to the chagrin of your stupid 13-year-old cousin Dax.

New Hampshire

You’ve got to be strategic about your seaweed harvesting in NH. Carrying the stuff “from seashore below high-water mark” after the sun has set is a violation of the state’s fish and game provisions. And as we all know, most people with seaweed collections shun daylight.

New Jersey

Wearing a bulletproof vest while committing or attempting to commit murder is an offense, because New Jersey cares more about making this a fair fight than the actual, you know, murder.

New Mexico

Photo: Flickr/Jeffrey Pott

If you’re performing the national anthem (or “Oh Fair New Mexico”) anywhere in this state, you’d better sing the whole thing. Half-assing the anthem is literally against the law. It must be sung or played as an entire composition – even if that means a two-minute-long riff on “land of the free.”

New York

In New York, if a person “being masked or in any manner disguised by unusual or unnatural attire or facial alteration, loiters, remains or congregates in a public place with other persons so masked or disguised” then that person is an illegal loiterer, unless you’re at a masquerade ball. Moral of the story: EVERYONE IS GETTING ARRESTED ON HALLOWEEN.

North Carolina

In what is just another example of the Man keeping you down, stealing used kitchen grease is a crime in NC, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for product to put in your hair.

North Dakota

You may not knowingly clone (or attempt to clone) another human in the Roughrider State, which explains why Orphan Black is not set in Bismarck.


Giving fish alcohol is prohibited here. So wait, your goldfish is just expected to enjoy Akron sober?


Bear wrestling and “horse tripping” events are strictly verboten in OK, although if you think wrestling a bear is a good idea, you have bigger problems than state penal codes.


Carrying a person under the age of 18 on any external part of the car is unlawful. But if they’re 19, feel free to throw them on the fender.


Photo: Shutterstock

Under PA’s incredibly detailed fortune-telling legislation, administering love potions or telling someone where to dig for treasure is a third-degree misdemeanor. Guess you’ll never find that pirate plunder.

Rhode Island

If you intentionally bite off your friend’s arm, you will go to jail. If it’s an accident, though, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

South Carolina

Anyone under the age of 18 is forbidden from using a pinball machine, because it’s a very slippery slope from playing pinball to giving your fish alcohol.

South Dakota

Fireworks are entirely illegal in many part of America, but not in South Dakota. In fact, farmers are legally allowed to use them to scare birds away from their sunflowers. Not any other crops, though, because who needs corn?


These guys are so intent on respecting the dead, they made any “game or amusement” in cemeteries illegal, so stop trying to bring family game night to “grandpa’s resting place,“ mom.


If you’re standing up, you’re only legally allowed to take three sips of beer. Which means if you’re chugging, you better sit down.


Utah’s liquor laws are notoriously insane, but by far the weirdest one concerns Zion curtains. The partitions run along restaurant bars, and bartenders are required to make drinks behind them so kids can’t see the booze. There have been many attempts to get rid of the Zion curtains, but for now, it looks like they’re staying up.


“Shooting birds for amusement” is illegal in Vermont, so if you go hunting, you better be dead serious about it.


Photo: Shutterstock

We’re not sure which sarcastic jerk deemed Virginia "for lovers,” because having any kind of sex if you’re not married is a Class 4 misdemeanor. If convicted, you’d have to pay a fine of up to $250. Which is weird, because last we checked paying for sex was also against the law.


These guys take their beer seriously. Destroying another person’s beer cask, barrel, keg, or bottle is strictly forbidden, as is filling those things without the owner’s written consent. Don’t forget your note.

West Virginia

Aaron Burr never could’ve landed a sweet alderman gig in the Mountain State – it’s illegal for anyone who’s engaged in a duel (or challenged someone to one, or acted as a second) to hold office. We guess Alexander Hamilton couldn’t, either, but dying in that duel was probably his bigger concern.


They’re no Fife & Drum, but WI prisons do have some discerning culinary tastes. Under state law, no butter substitutes may be fed to students, patients, or inmates of any state institution unless a doctor prescribes it for their health. Suck on that, Smart Balance.


Taking or harming a fish with a gun is against the law in Wyoming, so you’ll just have to stick with a fishing pole, Rooster Cogburn.

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