Ten Nutty Laws Unique to Texas: What's the Strangest Lone Star Law?

Ten Nutty Laws Unique to Texas: What’s the Strangest Lone Star Law?

Ah, Texas. The land of cattle, cowboys… and weird laws? Here are ten strange laws unique to the Lone Star State.

1. No Feather Dusters!

In Clarendon, Texas, using a feather duster in a public building is illegal. Why? Maybe a person using a feather duster stirred up some dust and made the wrong person sneeze. You can use a feather duster in a private building, like a house, all you want.

If you find yourself cleaning a public building in Clarendon, you can use a dustrag. That’s perfectly legal. Thank goodness.

2. Make Sure to RSVP if You’re Committing a Crime.

Ten Nutty Laws Unique to Texas: What's the Strangest Lone Star Law?

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If you decide to commit a crime in Texas, make sure to inform your victim verbally or in writing at least 24 hours before you commit a nefarious act! Otherwise, you’re breaking the law.

We like the idea of a written notification. A greeting card company needs to make “Breaking the Law and Thinking of You” cards as soon as possible.

3.No Selling Organs for Cash.

As hard as it may be to believe, selling your eye or other organ is illegal in the state of Texas. So, you will need to keep both eyes solidly in your head, where they belong. Try to find another way to make the rent.

By the way, selling your blood is perfectly legal in the state of Texas. Just realize that if you sell all of it, you’ll die and won’t be able to spend any money. There’s always a catch.

4. What’s his Crime? Owning an Encyclopedia!

Ten Nutty Laws Unique to Texas: What's the Strangest Lone Star Law?

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In Texas, you are not allowed to own the Encyclopedia Britannica, because it contains a beer-making recipe.

Apparently, the state of Texas is afraid we’ll all start brewing beer in our houses and become bootleggers. Crime will skyrocket as we fight for domination of the Underworld, using Encyclopedia Britannica beer.

You wonder what would happen if the lawmakers in Austin ever found out about the Internet.

5. Are Those Wirecutters in Your Pocket…

Speaking of Austin, did you know it’s illegal to walk around in our state capital city with wire cutters in your pocket? Well, it is. Seems like a silly law, but there actually is a reason for it.

Back in the day, people argued about whether barbed wire fences should be legal or not. People who disliked barbed wire fences would go around with wire cutters and cut the fences that offended them. Naturally, that was illegal. If you own land, you can put a barbed wire fence on it.

But the authorities had a difficult time proving that the person accused had actually cut the fence. This was before cameras were in everyone’s pocket. So, instead, they just created a law saying that having wire cutters in your pocket is illegal. Makes sense, after a fashion.

6. Cheapest Wedding Ever? Just Say You’re Married 3 Times!

Ten Nutty Laws Unique to Texas: What's the Strangest Lone Star Law?

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In some ways, Texas is pretty relaxed about marriage. Because of common law statutes, all two people need to do to be married is tell other folks that they are wedded.

If a couple informs different groups of people three separate times that they’re married, then they are. It’s as simple as that! No preacher necessary.

There are a few rules about this. First of all, the two parties can’t be married to anyone else. Bigamy is not allowed.

Second, the two people can’t be related. We aren’t going to comment on this one.

Finally, both parties need to be over 18. Otherwise, some of us would have been married at 5 to our kindergarten sweethearts.

7.Sitting On the Sidewalk? Illegal!

Of all the things to face a fine for, sitting on the sidewalk is probably one of the most embarrassing. But it can cost you $500 in Galveston. Maybe you should just find a bench.

At least all it will cost you is a fine. Imagine a hardened con asking you what you’re in for, and your reply is “Well, I was sitting on the sidewalk…”. You might catch some grief from your cellmates.

8. Every Modern Building Should Have a Spittoon!

In El Paso, a law is on the books requiring all “Churches, hotels, halls of assembly, stores, markets, banking rooms, railroad depots and saloons” to have spittoons. And not just one or two. They need to be of a “kind and number to efficiently contain expectorations into them.”

Bunches of spittoons are required in El Paso, for nearly every building. The last time we stayed in a hotel in El Paso, there were no spittoons in sight. Some of us were more disappointed than others.

9. No Swearing! The Deceased Might be Offended.

In Texas, it’s illegal to swear in front of a corpse. Apparently, lawmakers were concerned with all of the swearing that goes on at funerals, and they put a stop to it.

So, don’t curse out your annoying aunt at the memorial service. Save any foul language for the car ride home.

10. He was Flirting with his Eyes!

Ten Nutty Laws Unique to Texas: What's the Strangest Lone Star Law?

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Dating in San Antonio can be tough. It’s even tougher with a law on the books saying that you can’t flirt with your eyes and hands.

Texas seems to be very particular when it comes to eyes. You can’t sell them, and you can’t flirt with them. In Texas, eyes are used only for seeing. The laws here are strict about that sort of thing.

Flirting with your hands is pretty thin ice in today’s climate though, so maybe this one is understandable.

Ten Nutty Laws Unique to Texas: What's the Strangest Lone Star Law?

Photo: @addie2354 via Twenty20

Every state has crazy laws on the books. Usually, they linger on because no one bothers to enforce them, and it would take too much political effort to get rid of them.

Fortunately, in Texas, it’s pretty easy to be a law-abiding citizen. Most of the laws here are fair and justifiable. But it is fun to see some of the more nonsensical laws in our great state!

Written by Paul Ehrlich