SHERIFF'S CORNER: Strange laws of the U.S., Part IV

It's nice to be back in the mix of things with our many community events. Luther Days was a success, and now we move onto Troutarama in the next coming week. Unfortunately, we were unable to have the Irons Flea Roast. But don't cry Oxy, I'm sure it will be back next year.

With all of the negative news stories we seem to see nowadays, I think it's time for more weird laws across the nation. In this edition of the "Sheriff's Corner," I cover strange laws of the U.S., Part IV.

RHODE ISLAND: It is illegal to send fake death notifications or fake marriage announcements to the newspaper.

Public Act 1-18-3 states: "Every person who shall willfully send to the publishers of any newspaper, for the purpose of publication, a fraudulent notice of the birth of a child or of the marriage of any persons or of the death of any person, shall be fined not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100)."

SOUTH CAROLINA: You must be at least 18 years old to play pinball AND you cannot lie about your age to enter a movie theatre.

SC Code § 63-19-2430 (2012) states: "It is unlawful for a minor under the age of eighteen to play a pinball machine.";

SC Code § 63-19-2410 states: "A minor who gains admission to any theater by falsely claiming to be eighteen years of age or older is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than fifty dollars."

SOUTH DAKOTA: There is a limit on how much alcohol can be contained in candy.

Codified Laws 39-4-3.2 states: "Alcoholic beverage licensee permitted to sell confection or candy containing one-half of one percent alcohol by weight or more. A licensee pursuant to subdivision 35-4-2(4), (6), (11), (12), or (16) may sell or offer for sale any confection or candy made on the licensed premises containing one half of one percent alcohol by weight or more."

Not sure if this applies to jello shots. LOL

TENNESSEE: You cannot hunt, trap, or harm an albino deer intentionally.

TN Code § 70-4-130 (2014) states:

"(a) Except as provided in § 70-4-115, it is unlawful for any person to knowingly hunt, kill, trap, ensnare, or destroy, or to attempt to destroy, or to have in such person's possession albino deer, which is a deer with a lack or significant deficiency of pigment in the skin and hair and with pink eyes.

(b) Any violations of the proclamations or rules and regulations promulgated by the fish and wildlife commission are punishable as provided in this title, and the illegal taking or possession of each animal constitutes a separate offense.

(c) Violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by fine only."

TEXAS: Someone wishing to run for public office must believe in god or higher power.

Texas Constitution Bill of Rights Sec. 4. states: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

UTAH: No one may hurl a missile at a bus or bus terminal.

Utah Code 76-10-1505 states:

"(1) Any person who discharges a firearm or hurls a missile at or into any bus or terminal shall be

guilty of a third degree felony.

(2) The prohibition of this section does not apply to elected or appointed peace officers or

commercial security personnel who discharge firearms or hurl missiles in the course and scope

of their employment."

VERMONT: A local unit of government cannot ban someone from having a "clothesline" since it is considered a renewable resource.

Vermont Statute Title 24, Chp 61, § 2291a states: "Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no municipality, by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments."

VIRGINIA: It is unlawful to shine a light at a chicken coop at night.

Code of Virginia Chp 12, Article 3 § 18.2-509 states: "Any person in any motor vehicle or otherwise who, between a half hour after sunset on any day and a half hour before sunrise the following day, employs a light attached to such vehicle, or employs a spotlight to cast a light beyond the surface of the roadway upon any poultry house or other building inhabited by animals that causes such animals to panic or become injured, except upon his own land or upon private land on which he has permission, shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor."

WASHINGTON: It is illegal to walk out in public if you have the common cold.

RCW 70.54.050 states: "Every person who shall willfully expose himself or herself to another, or any animal affected with any contagious or infectious disease, in any public place or thoroughfare, except upon his or her or its necessary removal in a manner not dangerous to the public health; and every person so affected who shall expose any other person thereto without his or her knowledge, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

Also, can't forget about this in Seattle: "Women who sit on men's laps on buses or trains without placing a pillow between them face an automatic six-month jail term."

WEST VIRGINIA: A $.01 (one cent) tax was added to a can of pop (aka soda) to support the school of nursing and dentistry for West Virginia University.

West Virginia Code Chp 11, Article 8 §11-19-2 states: "For the purpose of providing revenue for the construction, maintenance and operation of a four-year school of medicine, dentistry and nursing of West Virginia University, an excise tax is hereby levied and imposed on and after midnight of June 30, 1951, upon the sale, use, handling or distribution of all bottled soft drinks and all soft drink syrups, whether manufactured within or without this state, as follows:

(1) On each bottled soft drink, a tax of 1¢ on each sixteen and nine-tenths fluid ounces, or fraction thereof, or on each one-half liter, or fraction thereof contained therein.

(2) On each gallon of soft drink syrup, a tax of 80¢, and in like ratio on each part gallon thereof, or on each four liters of soft drink syrup a tax of 84¢, and in like ratio on each part four liters thereof.

(3) On each ounce by weight of dry mixture or fraction thereof used for making soft drinks, a tax of 1¢ or on each 28.35 grams, or fraction thereof, a tax of 1¢."

WISCONSIN: Cheese better taste good, or it's not legal. Same with butter!

ATCP 81.60 states: "Wisconsin certified premium grade AA brick and muenster cheese shall be fine, highly pleasing and free from undesirable flavors and odors, except that the cheese may have a very slight feed flavor. Flavor standards are shown in the grade AA column of Table 9. The presence or absence of flavor characteristics shall be determined organoleptically by taste and smell."

ATCP 85.03 states. "(1) Wisconsin Grade AA butter conforms to the following:

(a) It shall possess a fine and highly pleasing butter flavor.

(b) It may possess a feed or culture flavor to a slight degree or cooked flavor to a definite degree, or any combination of these characteristics."

Note: Wisconsin State law forbids restaurants from substituting margarine for butter unless a customer specifically asks for the substitution.

WYOMING: It is illegal to be drunk and downhill ski.

W.S. 6-9-301 states: "(a) No person shall move uphill on any passenger tramway or use any ski slope or trail while such person’s ability to do so is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or by the use of any illicit controlled substance or other drug as defined by W.S. 35-7-1002...

...(d) Any person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) days, a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200.00), or both."

— This information is provided to you for clarification on specific laws, and not legal advice. This is not to be construed as a personal opinion, agreement or disagreement of any specific law. Topics covered are for educational and informational purposes only. As needed, excerpts from other articles are used for reference and/or content. If you have any questions on any specific topic, you may always email me your questions to rmartin@co.lake.mi.us.