August 28, 2014 Slideshows » News

16 Ridiculously Dumb Texas Laws 

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By Mark Reagan
OF 16
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Thou shall not buy Limburger cheese on Sundays


There are a lot of dumb laws out there, but this one (please forgive us) is downright cheesy. Apparently, in Houston, thou shall not purchase Limburger cheese on a Sunday. However, this law just didn’t smell right to us. According to a blogger in Houston (who only made a handful of posts and seemingly abandoned their blog) decided to test this rumor and (with bail money ready, we imagine) walked into a supermarket on Sunday and bought some Limburger cheese. The blogger posted their receipt to prove it, too.

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No public flirting in San Antonio


Now the sourcing on this law is shaky, at best, and our gut tells us that this law is arcane and must have been a San Antonio law at some point in the Alamo City’s history because there’s a grain of truth in every urban legend or story. Numerous odd law websites state that it is illegal for both sexes to flirt or respond to flirtation using the eyes and/or hands in San Antonio.

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Permission needed to drink in Galveston parks


Who doesn’t love spending an afternoon in the park with family and friends while barbecuing and sipping on some brews? Just be careful in Galveston when partaking in this pastime, and make sure you get the proper permits because it’s illegal to consume alcoholic beverages in city parks without the express authorization from the director of parks and recreation. Crazy, right? Read for yourself.

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No littering from your plane


While it may be every day practice to toss a little trash out of your airplane during the morning commute to the office, residents of Galveston could get in big trouble if they’re caught littering from their aircraft. So remember, if you’re ever flying over Galveston, don’t toss any litter, handbills or other objects from your airplane. You can read up on this important law here.

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An unnecessary reminder to obey traffic laws


The tiny town of Harker Heights, which is right outside of Killeen, is a bastion of progressiveness. In this quaint hamlet, lawmakers were apparently compelled to put a law on the books that requires its public employees to obey all traffic regulations as set forth in the State Vehicle Code. Can you imagine what it was like in Harker Heights before that law was on the books?

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No more than three swigs of beer while standing


Whoever came up with this law must have been drunk, but apparently it’s illegal in LeFors, a small dot on the map in the Texas panhandle, to take three swallows of beer while standing. However, we couldn’t find any proof that there is any truth to this law. In fact, some websites say it’s a LeFors law and others say it’s a Texas law.

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No mohawks on any of those punk kids


Any child who has a mohawk, or any other non-standard haircut (what’s a standard haircut anyway?) in Mesquite, which is right outside of Dallas, might be in a hairy situation because unusual haircuts on children are apparently illegal. While researching this law, it became clear to us that there may be some truth to it. However, maybe it’s confused with a local school district that has generated press before, like this story about a seventh grader who was suspended for having a high-top haircut that was too long on top. According to this news website, the Mesquite Independent School District is famous for its strict dress code. But a dress code is a far cry from an actual law.

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No farting in an elevator


This one’s as dumb as it is polite: don’t fart in an elevator in Port Arthur. Numerous dumb and stupid law websites list this Gulf Coast city’s apparent ridiculous law. But we didn’t find any good online verification that this is true. However, we can all agree that “obnoxious odors (should) may not be emitted while in an elevator."

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Taillights required, yes, even on horses


A Texarkana law literally interprets the word "tail," in "taillights." It’s illegal to ride your horse at night without them, even if you’re just trying to rustle up some grub. Now this one’s a lot like the Port Arthur elevator anti-fart legislation in that we couldn’t determine whether it was true. So we’re not sure if wrapping your horse’s tail in Christmas lights counts. Sorry.

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Dressing skimpy outlawed in El Paso


An El Paso law that seeks to protect females from being accosted attempts to do so by outlawing “any indecent or lewd dress.” We’re not sure what El Paso’s city leaders constitute as indecent or lewd dress, but the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid “Street Smart El Paso: Know Your Rights!” flyer actually lists this law so it must be true.

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Feather dusting prohibited in public buildings


For some unknown reason, a small town southeast of Amarillo called Clarendon may have outlawed using a feather duster to dust any public building. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but that debate would be about as stupid as the legislation used to break the feather-dusting-on-public-buildings scourge that had apparently been plaguing the city.

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Atheists must acknowledge God to run for office


Don’t worry. Any atheists running for office in Texas do not have to take a religious test to qualify for office or public trust. You can’t be excluded from holding office because of a lack of religious sentiments, even though the law requires you to “"acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." While this law is still actually on the books in Texas, it can’t be enforced because a 1961 Supreme Court ruling that struck down Maryland's religious test clause, which is identical to Texas'. Texas is one of seven states that still have religious test clauses in their constitutions.

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Sale of dildos banned


In 1971 the Texas Legislature decided it would “regulate morality,” which is politician speak for banning sex toys and closing sex shops, when it attempted to ban the promotion and sale of any obscene materials or devices. And this includes dildos and artificial vaginas or any “identical or similar obscene articles,” but it’s only a violation of the law if someone has six or more. People have actually been arrested on this charge. In 2005, Joanne Webb, was arrested and charged for selling sex toys out of her home. A few years later, several Texas-based online businesses that specialized in selling sex toys were also raided. The latter case went before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals where the court ruled against Texas. While that’s good news for the adult novelty business in Texas, not too far away, in Alabama, a ban on “obscene materials” that is similar to the Texas law was upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Sodomy a big no-no


This is not a strange or dumb law. It’s a discriminatory law that is still part of the Texas statute despite a Supreme Court ruling that struck it down. The Texas Penal Code Section 21.06 designates “Homosexual Conduct” as being a Class C misdemeanor. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Houston resident John Geddes Lawrence, who was arrested after police responding to a weapons call found him engaged in sexual conduct with another man inside his residence. Lawrence was charged with a violation of the law, which the Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional. Efforts have been made to get the law off the books. Most recently, SB 538 made its way to the Senate on April 18, 2013 – 10 years after the Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional. As of now, SB 538 has been sitting in the Senate for more than a year.

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Please notify your victims before they are victims


Much to the delight of time-managing criminals who like to dot their I’s and cross their T’s, a Texas anti-crime law drafted in 1973 aimed to require criminals to provide their victims with 24-hour notice – written or oral is fine – notifying them that they are being targeted, as well as explaining the nature of the offense. The law never passed.

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Don't shoot buffalo from the second story of a hotel


In an effort to attempt preservation of buffalo herds that were decimated as the United States manifested its destiny, Texas may have adopted a law that made it illegal to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. However, it’s not clear whether third- or first-floor bison hunting was allowed because we couldn’t find an online copy of the law or much else that didn’t come from dumb or stupid law website aggregates. But we did find this blog that postulates on why such a law would have existed.

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Thou shall not buy Limburger cheese on Sundays


There are a lot of dumb laws out there, but this one (please forgive us) is downright cheesy. Apparently, in Houston, thou shall not purchase Limburger cheese on a Sunday. However, this law just didn’t smell right to us. According to a blogger in Houston (who only made a handful of posts and seemingly abandoned their blog) decided to test this rumor and (with bail money ready, we imagine) walked into a supermarket on Sunday and bought some Limburger cheese. The blogger posted their receipt to prove it, too.

(via)

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