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Sun, Dec. 15

Around the Bluhmin' Town: There are a lot of stupid laws on our nation’s books

Does big government come from small minds? Which might then lead to dumb laws? All over this great nation there are laws “on the books” that reflect just how much our legislators like to make up laws.

Some of these gems are old and just never were removed. But many are fairly recent, which makes me wonder: Have our mental giants in our state legislatures lost their minds?

Uh oh, now the emails will be flying my way. Of course I am NOT referring to our own state’s lawmakers!

Did you know that in Alaska it is against the law to wake up a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking the bear’s photograph? Guess lots of tourists thought it was a good idea to startle hibernating bears to take a selfie.

Does this mean we can legislate stupidity? Oh, and you can be arrested in Alaska if you give a moose a beer. Sad when you’d want a moose as your drinking buddy.

Hmm, in Indiana never try to catch a fish with your hands — because it is against the law! Obviously, Indiana is unaware of my fishing skills, because I love wading into a stream and catching a big trout with my bare hands.

Hawaii is concerned with passenger safety, so in 2013 a law was passed that anyone not wearing a seatbelt in a moving vehicle can be fined $100. However, it is OK for anyone over the age of 12 to ride in the back of a pickup truck, of course, no seatbelts required.

Perhaps the weirdest law of any state is in the great state of Idaho, which in a law titled “Mayhem,” lays out exactly why you should never eat another person. If you resort to cannibalism, you will be jailed for 14 years. Except in those extreme cases where you had to eat someone, like a friend, in order to survive in the wilderness. Guess that is punishment enough. Hey, I am not making this stuff up! Oh yeah, let’s not go to Idaho any time soon.

Are you hungry? Just two years ago in Montana a law was passed that makes it perfectly legal to salvage any roadkill for meat. What’s for dinner? Street squirrel? Hey, leave that roadkill for the buzzards and let’s have lawmakers create some really sensible laws. Yikes, is that even possible?

Guess we have to protect the wildlife from becoming inebriated, since in Ohio they passed a law making it illegal to give alcohol to a fish. (And maybe a few legislators need to restrict their own alcohol intake — because how could you give booze to a fish?).

Carmel, California, had a famous (crazy) law that made it a misdemeanor if you were eating an ice cream cone while standing on any city sidewalk. Then Clint Eastwood rode into town as mayor and put an end to that nonsense. Evidently a big fan of ice cream, Clint made that law melt away as soon as he took office. But just make sure you don’t put an ice cream cone in your back pocket while visiting Alabama, because you could be arrested! Or, it might be an example of government officials with “brain-freeze.”

Of course, Arizona’s legislators proudly boast that we will never become a “nanny state” with too many restrictive laws. So then why is there a law forbidding women in Tucson to wear pants? (Yikes, what is the alternative?) And there is a law in Prescott that states you cannot ride your horse up the Courthouse steps. Go ahead, dash my dreams! How I was hoping I could ride my old horse, Baxter, up the steps of the Courthouse just as we are getting ready to light it up for Christmas.

Oh and did I mention that in the state of Arizona it is illegal to feed pigs garbage unless you obtain a permit? And then you must renew this permit each year. None of this applies if you are raising the pig to eat for your own consumption. Sounds like there is a whole lot of pork in our government!

Be careful, Dear Readers, because the very thing you were hoping to do . . .might actually be illegal. As a general principle, it might be wise to avoid giving wildlife alcohol and let sleeping bears lie. And be sure, ladies, not to wear pants if you are heading down to Tucson. Let me know how that works out (no selfies please). At least we have the freedom to eat ice cream wherever we please, except while riding a horse on Prescott’s courthouse steps.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at

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