Weird State Laws You Never Knew About
11 May, 2023
6 mins read
Okay, hear us out. As weird as it sounds, there’s someplace on this earth where you can land in hot water for sharing your Netflix password. Yeah, you read that right! Sharing your Netflix password could land you in legal trouble in Tennessee! The Volunteer State has passed a law making it illegal to share streaming service passwords, and the penalties for breaking this law can be quite steep.
The United States is known for having some of the world's strangest and most bizarre state laws. These laws often date back to a time when certain behaviours or practices were considered unacceptable, and while many of them have been repealed or deemed unenforceable, they remain on the books in some states. They often provide an interesting glimpse into the history and culture of different states and regions in the US. So, buckle up and get ready to learn about some of the most unusual and weird laws in the US that you won't believe are still in effect today!
Georgia: No Wearing Masks!
Well, we’re starting with the least peculiar one of them all (yes, the upcoming ones are completely insane!)
The state of Georgia has a weird law prohibiting its residents from wearing face masks or hoods that conceal their identity; it’s called the “Anti-Mask Act.” It was passed in 1951, and its only exception was during the time of COVID-19, when wearing medical masks was mandatory to prevent the infection from spreading.
New York: No Releasing Helium Balloons!
Okay, we know this one is also weird—as is the case with every single one on the list—but it was passed for all the right reasons. While releasing balloons may seem harmless, it can have serious environmental and wildlife consequences. Balloons can end up in bodies of water or on land, where they can be mistaken for food by animals or entangle them, causing injury or death.
This law aims to reduce the amount of litter and pollution in the state and protect the well-being of animals. Some people may find this law to be overly strict, but it highlights the importance of environmental protection and the impact that small actions can have on our planet.
New Jersey: No Pumping Your Own Gas
This one may seem like one of the most strange and weird laws in the US. Mainly for safety reasons, New Jersey doesn’t have self-service gas stations. A gas station worker should be the one fueling your car, or you could get into some serious legal trouble! This law was passed in 1949 and is known as the “Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act.” It’s worth mentioning that New Jersey is not the only state enforcing this law; Oregon got on board, too, in 1951!
Delaware: No Halloween on Sundays
We know how lame this sounds, but rules are rules. You can’t go trick-or-treating on Sundays in Delaware if October 31st falls on a Sunday. Instead, you ought to do it on October 30th. This law was passed in 1971 because it was deemed inappropriate to celebrate goblins and ghosts on the “Sabbath,” a day of religious observance for Christians and Jews that is usually a Sunday.
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Maine: No Roller-Skating Stunts
Okay, hear us out. There's a law in Maine that prohibits roller skating stunts on the street. So if you're a daredevil on wheels, you might want to think twice before jumping over that fire hydrant or doing a backflip off a park bench. The authorities in Maine take roller skating safety seriously, and they won't hesitate to put the brakes on your stunts. So, keep your wheels firmly on the ground and your adrenaline in check, or you might take an unintended trip to the police precinct.
Alabama: No Fake Moustache in Church
We were laughing ourselves to tears while learning about this law while researching for the article. It is totally worth a spot on our list of the most bizarre and weird laws in the US. It is illegal to wear a fake moustache in a church in Alabama that causes laughter. The law has been in place since the 1800s and is still enforced to this day. So, if you're planning to attend Sunday service in Alabama, make sure to leave your fake moustache at home unless you want to do some jail time for causing a disturbance.
Arizona: No Donkeys Sleeping in Bathtubs
Yes, this is no joke. If you have a donkey in Arizona, you’re not allowed to let it sleep in your bathtub. The story of the 1924 enacted law goes like this: Near Kingman, Arizona, a town was flooded by a local dam while a merchant let his donkey sleep in an old bathtub. Although the donkey survived, it was carried about a mile down the valley by the floodwaters before finally landing in a basin. So, yeah, no donkeys in bathtubs in this state!
It is worth mentioning that North Carolina and New York have similar laws.
California: No Whistling for a Lost Canary Before 7 a.m.
Again, you read that right. Apparently, the state legislators believe that the wee hours of the morning are not meant for finding wayward birds. So, if you happen to misplace your feathered friend and it's still dark outside, resist the urge to whistle and wait until the sun comes up. You don't want to end up behind bars for breaking this odd law.
Georgia: No tying a Giraffe to a Telephone Pole or Street Lamp
We don’t know why someone would tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or a street lamp, and we also don’t know why someone would walk down the street with a giraffe in the first place. The story behind this is a bit unclear, but some speculate that it was passed in response to a circus that visited the state many years ago, while others suggest that it was simply a way to prevent people from causing traffic accidents.
Whatever the reason, it's safe to say that if you happen to be travelling through Georgia with a giraffe in tow, you'll need to find another way to secure it while you stop for a break!
Louisiana: No Sending a Surprise Pizza
Again, we were honestly clueless as to why it’s illegal to send a surprise pizza to a loved one; it’s harmless and delicious! However, we did a little digging, and we learned the story behind this weird law. The law was passed in 2016 and states that it is illegal to order and send any food or beverage to a person without their consent, with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass them.
The law came about after a series of prank calls in which pizza deliveries were made to unsuspecting victims, often in the middle of the night. The victims would be forced to pay for the pizzas or face legal action from the delivery companies. So, never send a surprise pizza to a friend, or else you’re up against a $500 fine!
Vermont: No Painting a Horse
Last stop on our odd list: Vermont. While you may be asking yourself reading this: “Why would someone paint a horse?”, we’re here to explain as much as we’re here to arouse your curiosity. Yes, it might seem a tad strange to outlaw horse painting, but there is a reason behind this law. In the early 1900s, some circus performers would paint their horses to make them look like zebras, which was thought to be more exotic and attractive to audiences.
However, this practice was found to be harmful to the horses and was eventually banned. The law still stands today, serving as a reminder to treat animals with care and respect.
While these laws may seem strange, they often have historical or cultural significance. Some were created to address specific issues at the time, while others were meant to be humorous or tongue-in-cheek. Regardless, they serve as a reminder of the diverse and quirky nature of the United States. Also, these weird laws in the US make for interesting and entertaining trivia!
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are 3 weird laws in the US?
There are many weird laws in the US, but here are three examples:
In Alabama, wearing a fake moustache in a church that causes laughter is illegal.
In Georgia, tying a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp is illegal.
In Vermont, it is illegal to paint a horse.
2. What state has the weirdest laws?
It's difficult to say which state has the weirdest laws, as many states have unusual or outdated laws on their books. However, some states that are often cited for having strange laws include California, Florida, and Massachusetts.