Lesson 12 Silly-Sounding Laws

Since the early days of our country, many laws have been passed. Some laws make communities safer places. It’s no surprise, then, that highways have speed limits and that robbery is against the law.

However, in Winnetka, Illinois, there is a law against removing your shoes in a theater if your feet smell. Did you know that in New Jersey, you can’t slurp soup in public places? These laws sound funny, but they really do exist.

Every state has laws that may have made sense once but now are outdated. In Reed City, Michigan, for example, it’s illegal to own both a cat and a bird. In Louisiana you aren’t allowed to whistle on Sunday. In North Carolina it’s illegal to drink water or milk on a train.

How did these laws come about? We do know that many of them came from England. Other laws were based on religious beliefs. Others were created in times of emergency. When the emergency ended, the law remained.

Why are some silly-sounding laws still around? Often, it’s easier to leave a law in place than to go through the legal steps to remove it. Even though many of these outdated laws remain, few of them are enforced.

We’re not the only country with strange laws. In London, England, it’s against the law to kiss in a movie theater. People in Finland must be able to read to get married. A guide dog is the only kind of dog allowed in Iceland.

Every year new laws are passed. Others either are removed or not enforced. Just in case, though, be careful not to fish from the back of a giraffe in Idaho!

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