Three Weird Laws That Actually Make Sense When You Think About Them

Legal research guides Legislative history Legislative intent service

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It’s an all too common story being published online. Decades and decades ago, certain legal statutes were passed to rectify problems. When the issues became resolved, the legal statutes remained on the books. Years and years later, someone happens upon them in their legislative history research. No longer culturally relevant, these antiquated legal statutes now seem seem odd, or even downright strange.

However un-obvious it may seem, there was a legislative intent behind them at one point. Here are a few such quirky legal statutes and the possible reasons why they exist.

No Bear Wrestling in Alabama.

Bear wrestling in Alabama is illegal, if you can believe it. To some, it’s an entertaining sport, but many have criticized the dangerous show as being inhumane. As a result, Alabama went as far as to ban it. The legal statute goes so far as to even ban the sale of bears, bear wrestling match promotion, and the surgical alteration of a bear (like declawing). If caught, criminals would have to pay for all of the medical treatments that the poor bear might need.

No Coyotes or Moose Allowed in Restaurants in Alaska.

It might seem weird to have a law that bans animals like coyotes or moose from being able to enter any barbershop, salon, or public place that sells food, but to be fair, it’s a capital ban on all kinds of pets. from such places This means that the law also restricts dogs and cats, too, and not just the more exotic pets certain Alaskans may have.

No Idiots-Suffrage in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s state constitution explains the qualifications needed to be able to vote. Besides the usual things, like having to reside in the state for 12 months, Article VII also states that to be able to vote, you cannot be an idiot, an insane person, or a felon. What’s also crazy is that it’s not the only state to have such a law. Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi also have similar rules. While it might seem silly, the entire reason why public education was a priority to our founding fathers was to ensure that voters were educated and could think for themselves. States like New Mexico just decided to take it to the next level, apparently.

If your own legislative research has turned up any other oddball legal statutes that didn’t make it on this list, feel free to share in the comments. Good references here:

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