Dumb Laws – Strange Laws
Thousands of web sites list “Dumb Laws” or “Stupid Laws” for cities and states around the U.S., including Minnesota. We’ve spent time researching some of the weirder Minnesota laws mentioned and have found that for the most part they are fictitious.
That said, there still are some weird laws, usually from an earlier day and age, that remain on the books at the State or local levels. The following is a listing of these so-called dumb or strange laws that are frequently associated with Minnesota.
- A person may not cross state lines with a duck atop his head.
A cute thought, but there just aren’t any Minnesota state laws that restrict anything like this. Go ahead and wear a duck on your head as often as you’d like!
- State Law limits Nursing Homes and Senior Centers to two days of bingo a week.
When charitable gaming came to Minnesota in the 1980’s, State Law did in fact limit Nursing Homes and Senior Centers to two days of bingo a week. In fact, if you were visiting someone at a nursing home or senior center you were restricted from playing bingo with them. This law was reversed in 2015.
- Don’t stand in a roadway if your looking for business OR a ride.
This one is actually on the books. Minnesota statute 169.22, titled “Hitchhiking; Solicitation of Business”, states “No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of
soliciting a ride from the driver of any private vehicle.”
- The land of 10,000 lakes declares mosquitoes a public nuisance.
Somewhat true, but the actual law states, “Areas where mosquitoes incubate or hatch are declared to be public nuisances.”. It’s the public area that can be declared as a “nuisance”, not the mosquitos themselves.
(Source: Minnesota Session Laws)
- It is illegal to stand around any building without a good reason to be there.
For the more educated, this is referred to as “loitering”. The original law was repealed in 2005. The new law for loitering states “A person found in or loitering near any structure, vehicle, or private grounds who is there without the consent of the owner and is unable to account for his presence”
- Citizens may not enter Wisconsin with a chicken on their head.
A version of the “duck atop his head” cited above. Again, there are no Minnesota laws that prohibit having “a chicken on their head”.
- All bathtubs must have feet.
If true, then most Minnesota homeowners would be in violation of this law. We were unable to find any state law that requires bathtubs to have feet.
- You’re not allowed to park your elephant on Main Street.
Fictitious. In fact no Minnesota laws even include the word “elephant”.
- A Blue Earth, Minnesota, law declares that no child under the age of twelve may talk over the telephone unless monitored by a parent.
We looked and looked for this one, but could not find it anywhere on the books.
- A woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s permission.
This is not a Minnesota law that we could find. There is no mention of “hair” and “husband” in the same legislation.
- All men driving motorcycles must wear shirts.
In general this is false, although there is a law that states that if you are taking a motorcycle driving test, you are required to wear protective clothing, including “a jacket or long-sleeved shirt”.
(Source: Minnesota Administrative Laws)
- Law that makes it legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, and chickens.
It would be far more likely to have a law that prohibits this, wouldn’t it? There is no state law in Minnesota that even mentions the words “farmer” or “farmers”, and “sleep”.
- Every man in Brainerd, Minnesota is required by law to grow a beard.
- No person shall throw an abandoned hoop skirt into any street or on any sidewalk, under penalty of a five- dollar fine for each offense. (Grand Haven)
There is no town in Minnesota named Grand Haven. Likely confused with Michigan.
- It’s illegal to paint a sparrow with the intent of selling it as a parakeet (Harper Woods).
Many online sites list this law, and most associate it with a town in Minnesota by the name of Harper Woods. Unfortunately, there is no town in Minnesota by that name.
- It shall be the duty of any policeman or any other officer to enforce the provisions of this Section, and if any cat is found running at large, or which is found in any street, alley or public place, it shall be the duty of any policeman or other officer of the city to kill such cat. (Hibbing)
- It is illegal to allow animals to sleep in a bakery (Duluth, Minnesota)
- It’s illegal to tease skunks.
- Red cars can not drive down Lake Street (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Red cars drive up and down Lake Street all day long without getting ticketed.
- No person may be charged with or convicted of the offense of drunkenness or public drunkenness.
This one is actually true. As of 2010, Minnesota Statute # 340A.902 titled “Drunkenness Not A Crime” states that “No person may be charged with or convicted of the offense of drunkenness or public drunkenness.”
- Hamburgers may not be eaten on Sundays. (St. Cloud)
- There is a 10 cent bounty for each rat’s head brought into a town office.
- Anyone can keep their cow on Main Street downtown at a cost of 3 cents per day. (Wayland)
- It is illegal to drive a truck or other vehicle whose wheels or tires deposit mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter or other material on any street or highway. (Minnetonka, MN)
This one is still on the books in Minnetonka under section 845.010 – Public Nuisances.