Weirdest Laws In Minnesota

Whether it's a law forbidding the hunting of whales in the state of Oklahoma or one in the state of Vermont that punishes a person for painting a horse (per Only in Your State), weird laws are everywhere. Some are merely outdated social morays that found their way into the law books generations ago, and others will leave most of us reaching for a rational reason why they were passed, to begin with. 

Every state has its share of weird laws, and the state of Minnesota is hardly an exception. A beautiful state with plenty to offer its residents as well as the millions of tourists who visit it each year, Minnesota shows us that no part of the U.S. is free of odd legislation. While the Land of 10,000 Lakes might not have as many weird laws as it does bodies of water, you'll find that there are plenty of wacky things supposedly passed by this state legislature in previous sessions to keep you scratching your head.

Better have a reason to stand next to a building here

Across the state of Minnesota, several laws are, or were, enforceable. Some of them, like a decree naming the mosquito a public nuisance, make a bit of sense (via Stupid Laws). Others seem to have no practical reason whatsoever.

There's a part of a strict anti-vagrancy code in Minnesota that prohibits standing around a building without a legitimate reason. This part of the state code will make you guilty of a misdemeanor if you are caught loitering by any structure and cannot prove a means of support. Additionally, this statute will condemn a sex worker as a vagrant if they are loitering in a public place while trying to solicit their wares. Fortune-telling is lumped in with begging in this law, and will also get a person charged with the same misdemeanor offense.

For one reason or another, there is purportedly also a state law that prohibits a person from sleeping naked. How anyone would be able to enforce this one is anyone's guess.

The barberry bush is forbidden

Bring Me the News lists other weird laws the entire state is subject to. Harboring a dirty threshing machine is a punishable offense. Driving a car in neutral used to be illegal, but no more. Not that you'd be able to go very fast or very far in this position.

The barberry bush, native to Japan, is outlawed in the state. Those in possession of one are guilty of having a noxious weed and will be fined. Another supposed weird law requires that the Secretary of Agriculture personally capture any wild boar that might escape. There isn't anything available that states what they have to do with it once it has been caught, however.

Like every other state, there are some really strange laws regarding sex. Here, you'll find a strict law against fornication. In case you weren't aware, this is when two persons unmarried to each other are engaged in sexual intercourse. So if you are single in this state, you've been warned!

Better make sure that lumber is piled nicely

As weird as the laws passed by previous state legislatures in this state, you'll find that the really strange ones have been passed as local ordinances in cities and small towns across Minnesota. According to Only in Your State, the city of Saint Cloud has a law that prohibits eating hamburgers on a Sunday. And in Duluth, pets are not allowed to sleep inside a bakery.

The town of Minnetonka seems to have the most restrictive laws when it comes to property. For example, you could get a fine in this community if your wood is not neatly stacked (via Stupid Laws). Storing what could be deemed "junk" is considered a public nuisance and will also get you cited and fined. 

Driving through city streets here with dirty tires is also reportedly a punishable offense. So if there is mud on your tires, you might want to get that taken care of before taking a drive around town.

Don't let your cat chase a dog up a telephone pole

Minnetonka isn't the only community with weird laws. In International Falls, there is reportedly a city ordinance that forbids cats from chasing dogs up telephone poles (per Stupid Laws). An old law in the town of Brainerd had a requirement that every man must grow a beard. And in Blue Earth, any child under the age of 12 had to have their parent's permission to be able to talk on the telephone.

To combat sex trafficking, several communities made it unlawful to encourage someone to enter massage parlors late in the evening. The town of Minnetonka even passed an ordinance that expressly forbids anyone from entering the premises after the hour of 7 p.m., except for the purpose of getting a massage.

As if being a police officer wasn't hard enough, in the town of Hibbing, these officers are supposedly required to destroy any stray cats that are captured.

Governor Dayton's Unsession

Former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton made a point to target these, and other, weird laws in his state during 2014. According to Bring Me the News, Dayton declared an "Unsession" in which he urged the state legislature to rid Minnesota of old laws he believed the people of his state would find ridiculous. In addition, this Unsession would streamline tax laws, narrow the scope and better define the duties of various boards and commissions, and include other acts to clean up the code of law in Minnesota.

The efforts of Dayton could be considered a success. By the end of the Unsession, nearly 1,200 proposals were signed into law (via Minnesota Post). While striking weird laws from the books and updating others by eliminating redundancies didn't impact the everyday lives of average Minnesota residents, it did show a great example of how a living code of law should work. Lawmakers will periodically make necessary revisions to the law codes so that they not only fit in with the times in which we live, but also better mirror our culture and our values. As you read about the weird laws in other states, you might wonder why more lawmakers and governors don't follow Dayton's example.