Weirdest Laws In Idaho's State History

The laws that govern us can get pretty weird. From small town ordinances to the ones enacted on the federal level, there are smatterings of prohibitions that will probably leave you to question what our leaders were thinking. Whether it's a law in Wisconsin that regulates how a restaurant serves margarine or a local law in Missouri that won't allow you to feed an elephant beer, you can be certain that every state has a few laws that elevate to the level of weird.

Idaho is certainly not an exception here. In the Gem State, you'll find a law that will allow an exception to cannibalism, as well as local ordinances that spell out what (and who) can reside in a dog kennel. If those laws don't leave you in wonder, there are plenty more to be had. Let's take a closer look at some of the weirdest laws passed in Idaho and possibly still on the books.

Selling a damaged potato

Throughout the state, there are myriad offenses you could be committing without even knowing you are violating the law. Generations ago, some pretty quirky laws were enacted by previous state legislatures, which in today's standards range from questionable to downright bizarre. Listen Boise tells us that fishing from the back of a camel is supposedly against the law, as are lawyers charging a widow a fee for moving a piano from one room to another. 

There's also a section of the Idaho code of laws titled "Mayhem," in which various offenses and their punishments are spelled out. One such offense is that of cannibalism, which is only allowed if it is a matter of survival. This state also purportedly bars humans from living in a doghouse or a kennel and prohibits anyone from riding a merry-go-round on a Sunday. And whatever you do, take certain precautions when selling potatoes in Idaho. If you are attempting to sell an Idaho Deluxe variety, pay close attention to the condition that it is in. Selling one of these with any blemish, rot, or sun damage can reportedly result in you getting jailed for up to six months.

You need a permission slip from the girl's father to date

Another weird state law is one regarding snake bites. In Idaho, snakes are not supposed to bite you on a Sunday. Unless, of course, it is snowing outside (per Stupid Laws). 

Of course, murder is against the law in every state. Idaho isn't an exception to this needed legal cornerstone. However, officials in Idaho spell out specific ways in which it is illegal to take the life of another. For instance, you cannot murder someone by cutting off their head in this state. And if you have children under the age of 14 here, an old law apparently requires you to provide a signed certificate stating that the kids are regularly brushing their teeth. Speaking of documentation, a boy in Idaho is only allowed to court a young lady if he has received written permission from her father. And if your courting goes well, and you are considering consummating the relationship physically, be warned that fornication is still illegal in Idaho (per Stupid Laws).

You cannot hunt from a helicopter

Other weird laws purportedly passed by the state legislature include walking down the street with a red-tipped cane (via Stupid Laws), buying or selling chickens after sundown without prior approval from the local sheriff, and giving a box of chocolates to your significant other unless it weighs at least 50 pounds. That way, you can have a hernia while your sweetheart enjoys their chocolate treats.

Idaho has some pretty specific laws regarding human affection. As archaic as these may be, many states have laws against some very specific human relationships. Here, you should know that, aside from laws against fornication, it is also illegal to engage in public displays of affection for more than 18 minutes (per Only in Your State). 

And for some reason, lawmakers decided it was necessary to pass a law prohibiting hunting from a helicopter. This law apparently applies whether the helicopter is stationary or flying through the air.

One local law made you smile in public

On the local level, the level of weirdness can certainly rival that of the state. For instance, the town of Pocatello has a local law that supposedly requires that you smile in public. According to Stupid Laws, this was passed in 1948 in response to a rather bleak winter the citizens were forced to endure. In an ordinance that was really never meant to be enforced, it was soon forgotten about. It wasn't until 1987 that researchers discovered this long-forgotten law.

In the town of Eagle, camping on city sidewalks is forbidden. You are also not allowed to sweep the dust from your home or business into the streets. Motorcycle riders should take care in keeping track of their age. Reportedly, anyone over the age of 88 is not legally allowed to operate one of these vehicles within the city limits of Idaho Falls. Driving a car is still legal, though.

If that car's a rockin'

Stupid laws also points out that in the town of Eagle, you are not allowed to take a bicycle onto a tennis court. And in what might be considered a legally enforced act of courtesy, a law in the town of Coeur D'Alene apparently has a strict procedure outlined for officers who might believe a couple is engaging in a romantic act inside a vehicle. After pulling up behind the car in question, officers must sound the horn three times, and then wait a full two minutes before they can exit their patrol car and approach the suspects. A weird law to be sure, but it would certainly curtail a little bit of embarrassment.

As weird as laws can seem, most of them have been passed with the best of intentions. Some of them just stay on the books longer than what their useful life should have allowed. Periodically reviewing our codes of law can be a big benefit to the citizens and lawmakers alike, as this will allow for the archaic ones to be discarded, and others to be amended or revised.