Anybody that’s ever looked through anything passed by a legislative body has likely seen a number of strange things included that had little or nothing to do with the main bill or law. These riders are often included to appease a small constituency and don’t always have a big or lasting impact. Sometimes these riders come in the form of money for a state or district, and sometimes they come in the form of rules and laws that are quote often, to be frank, silly. Here are some of the silly laws that have managed to make it on the books in Virginia, even if only for a short time.
Politics As Usual?
This is one that just makes you shake your head. There is a state law “prohibiting corrupt practices of bribery by any person other than candidates.” This sounds like the type of law that a corrupt politician got passed to help themselves retain their office against a better, more morally pure candidate.
No Tickle Parties
I’d like to think that this law was the result of a more conservative time in the state’s history, but I honestly can’t think of any reason to pass a law that makes it illegal to tickle women. Maybe there was a tickle bandit, but I suspect puritan hands are to blame for this law.
There has been a law in Virginia making it illegal to hunt for any animal on Sunday, with the sole exception of raccoons, which may be hunted until 2 AM.
Apparently whoever passed this law didn’t feel that raccoons were really one of God’s creatures and thus not worthy of his protection on Sundays.
Clean Your Mule
This has to be an old law as I think it’s fair to say that nobody has attempted this in some time. In Culpepper it was made illegal to wash a mule on the sidewalk. I really hope this isn’t a recent law as it may be too much for my mind to handle.
Dress For the Hour
This law is clearly something of an antiquity, but it still makes you want to know the reasoning behind it. There has been a law on the books in Norfolk, Virginia that required women to wear a corset after sundown and to be in the company of a male chaperone.
Civility is Key
This law likely goes back to a time when we put more of a premium on civility towards each other. There was enacted a law in Prince William County that made it illegal to cuss about another person. Maybe this also made gossip more civil as well.
Who Gets the Tab?
I’m working under the assumption that this law was passed in response to gambling issues in relation to restaurants, though I could be way off base.
In Richmond, a law was passed making it illegal to flip a coin in a restaurant to see who pays for a coffee. I’m not sure why coffee alone was singled out in this law, nor am I aware of a history of coffee and gambling going hand in hand.
Warning! Lady Driver!
As it has never, to the best of my knowledge, been illegal for women to drive in this country, I honestly don’t know what to make of this one. In Waynesboro a law was passed making it against the law for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband was walking in front of the car waving a red flag. Did this mean that unmarried women couldn’t drive on Main Street in Waynesboro? I appreciate a female driver joke here and there within reason, but this seems to be taking the notion to excess.
Only the Tip of the Iceberg
This is just a small sampling of the silly laws that you can find not only in Virginia, but across the country. While some may have reasoning behind them, in the end they seem frivolous, even though to this day many of them remain on the books of many states, cities, and counties.