By: Reid Wilson
In the 227 years since becoming a state, New Jersey lawmakers have passed a lot of laws. Over time, many of those laws become anachronisms, even if they’re still on the books. Until now, for example, it was illegal to delay or detain homing pigeons within the Garden State’s borders.No longer. Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed legislation over the weekend that removes a bunch of those outdated laws. That means anyone interested can go ahead and detain a homing pigeon if they so choose.
Among the ancient laws repealed under the new legislation:
– Measures that allowed stallions, bulls and rams to run free at certain times of year.
– A law that required debtors to be held separately from prisoners in jail.
– Laws forbidding those with venereal diseases from holding certain jobs.
– A law requiring a motorist to use an audible warning signal when passing another vehicle on the road.
– A measure requiring people to yield a party phone line in an emergency. (Do those even exist anymore?)
– The law requiring companies to post signs warning juveniles about the penalties for graffiti in stores that sell spray paint.
– And a measure that governs how the state treats victims of shipwrecks and the personal property they leave behind.
States occasionally take the time to rid their codes of anachronistic or just plain silly laws. Earlier this year, Business Insider put together a list of some of the stranger laws on each state’s books, some of which might deserve a moment’s attention from lawmakers looking to shed some text. Our favorites:
– Arizona prohibits feeding garbage to pigs without obtaining a permit, which must be renewed annually.
– Arkansas won’t allow a pinball machine to award more than 25 free games to a particularly talented player.
– California won’t allow human consumption of a frog that dies during a frog-jumping contest.
– Idaho is the only state to specifically ban cannibalism, except in life-or-death situations. Actually, that one’s okay to leave on the books.
– Indiana liquor stores cannot legally sell cooled water or soda, but they can sell room-temperature soft drinks.
– Maryland prohibits the sale of non-latex condoms in vending machines. The punishment: A fine up to $1,000.
– Massachusetts authorities can fine you up to $100 for dancing to the Star-Spangled Banner.
– Minnesota won’t let residents to attempt to capture a greased or oiled pig. Turkeys, too. That makes Thanksgiving a lot less fun.
– Mississippi law prohibits using profanity in front of two or more people in a public place. Doing so can lead to a 30-day sentence in the county jail. We know certain former governors who may have violated that one a time or two.
– New Hampshire residents may not collect seaweed at night.
– New Mexico’s constitution still prevents “idiots” from voting in state elections. There’s no specification for what constitutes an idiot, but in this day and age the jokes basically write themselves.
– West Virginia hunters may not use a ferret in pursuit of their prey. Doing so will nab you a $100 fine and at least 10 days in jail.
– Wisconsin takes its cheese seriously. The state requires certain kinds of cheese to be “highly pleasing,” though there’s no defined punishment if the fromage doesn’t meet one’s gustatory requirements.