Weirdest Laws In Hawaii's State History

Millions of tourists from around the world flock to the state of Hawaii every year. This chain of islands offers great surfing, relaxing beach time, and some of the most beautiful hikes in the world. Like any state in the U.S., Hawaii is governed by its own set of laws that are unique to the culture of its people and to the needs of the time in which the laws were passed. And like the other 49 states in the union, Hawaii has its own fair share of laws that are outdated at best, and downright weird at the worst. 

While they make for an interesting read, a lot of them may certainly leave the average person wondering what the lawmakers of yesteryear were thinking when certain laws were brought to the floor for debate. If you're planning a trip to the Aloha state and want to learn more about some of the peculiarities passed on the state and local levels there, read ahead. 

Buildings cannot be taller than the palm trees

The lowest rung on the government ladder is that of town ordinances. As this level is also the one that allows for the easiest form of participation from members of the community, you can be sure that some of the local quirks can be found in a few of the laws that get passed in these communities. Bit of Fun tells us that in Honolulu, it is against the law to annoy any bird that is inside one of the local city parks. And in Kauai, there is an ordinance that won't allow any building to be taller than a fully grown palm tree (via Only in Your State). 

Destination Tips cautions travelers to Waikiki who might be tempted to wear their bathing suits everywhere. You can get fined for wearing your swimsuit outside of the beach or around the area of a swimming pool if you're not also wearing some kind of cover-up. While this law was probably passed to enforce a level of modest dress in public, there is certainly some non-beach attire that is more revealing than swimming trunks that would be legal under this local law.

Keep those quarters out of your ears

If you think that weird laws in Hawaii only exist on the local level, you'd be very wrong. The state legislature  has passed some pretty odd pieces of legislation that Hawaiians are supposed to abide by. Only in Your State informs us that it is against the law for you to have more than two drinks in front of you in a bar. For those who might want a beer with a chaser, you'll have to wait until that pint glass is empty before you're legally served a shot. And for those who just like to two-fist, you'll have to hold one at a time, just like the rest of us. 

Another weird Hawaiian law prohibits a person from placing coins in the ear. Whether or not this law was the result of a coin-in-the-ear-related mishap, we can only speculate. But before you try any street magic to entertain your friends, remember to keep your change away from this body part.

An old law requires you to own a boat

If you are a resident of Hawaii, there is an old law that requires you to own a boat (per Only in Your State). While this law is certainly not enforced, it makes one wonder how much more expensive life in Hawaii would be if it were. Hawaiian law requires all boat owners to have a boating license, and if you own a boat you most certainly have to pay for boat insurance. And finding and paying for a place to store the boat only adds to the growing list of costs associated with this old piece of legislation. The residents are certainly relieved this isn't something that is still enforced today.

There are some pretty strict fishing regulations in Hawaii. You are not allowed to use explosives, poison, or any electrical current to catch fish or other marine life. While the law itself is well-intentioned, it's a little weird that this has to be spelled out legally. 

Twins cannot work for the same company

Be especially careful when it comes to possessing certain souvenirs. Some can land you in a lot of hot water with the law. Possessing a shark fin can lead to up to one year in jail (per Only in Your State). And displaying a captive whale or dolphin will also lead to some legal problems. 

In what could have been a cheesy sitcom-inspired series of events that led lawmakers to this end, a state law was passed that disallows identical twins from working for the same company. There is also an old law that makes it illegal for a person to leave their home unless they know exactly where they are going (per Destination Tips). An equally archaic regulation forbids anyone from getting a tattoo behind their ears or on their eyelids.

In what is a great example of a double standard, you have to wear a seatbelt while traveling in the backseat of a car. But you are also allowed to ride around unsecured in the exposed bed of a pickup truck.

Hawaii won't allow billboard advertising

Some of the laws passed in Hawaii that might seem weird at the outset are for actual good reason. For instance, Only in Your State tells us that measures were taken by the state to better preserve its natural beauty and to protect its ecosystems. In an effort to keep human-made structures from blocking scenery, Hawaii banned billboards from its roadways back in the 1920s. 

Breaking off any mineral deposit from a cave is also unlawful. Be sure you don't attempt to take any lava rocks from the state, or you'll be subjected to a stiff fine. And depending on where that rock came from you might also become the next victim of the Curse of Pele, but that's a different story.

Even though these and other weird laws are still laws, it doesn't mean that they always will be. Periodically, lawmakers will comb through the statutes and make necessary revisions and amendments to regulations that no longer remain relevant to our current values. But as you can see by reading about some of the weird laws that are still on the books, they might not be doing it often enough.