The Common Good

QUIRK: Ten of the Most Bizarre Laws Effective July 1, 2012

We’ve reached the halfway point of the year, which means states across the nation are adopting a variety of new laws at state and local levels. While most of the new provisions and amendments were about taxes, health, education, bullying, sexual harassment, etc., a few may cause you to raise an eyebrow. Here for your amusement, we present ten of the quirkiest new laws that we’ve stumbled upon…

1. Gourmet duck liver is prohibited in California.

According to the Contra Costa Times the culinary delicacy foie gras (French for “fat liver”) has been banned from being produced or sold in California. The reasoning? The meal is created by “force-feeding ducks or geese through funnel-like tubes until their livers grow to more than 10 times their normal size.” [Contra Costa Times]

2. Cab drivers in Chicago can now charge a $50 vomit fee.

If you’ve taken a cab ride in Chicago you probably know how easy it can be to get a little motion sickness from a zipping ride around the city. Today, the Chicago Tribune reports that cabbies can charge a $50 clean up fee to passengers who vomit in the vehicle. [Chicago Tribune]

3.  Muskrat hunting is now legal in South Dakota.

South Dakotans can now take vengeance those pesky lawn menaces, but not by any means necessary. The killing of muskrats is legal only if you’re using the right weapon: a .22 caliber rifle or smaller rimfire gun, a .45 caliber or smaller shotgun, or legal archery equipment. [Aberdeen News]

4. New Mexico cracks down on imposter chili peppers.

The chili pepper boasts a prestigious name in New Mexico, that’s why the New Mexico Chili Advertising Act makes it illegal for vendors, restaurants, and grocery stores from stealing that blue ribbon label unless it was actually grown in the state. [Santa Fe Gate]

5. School lunches in Pennsylvania increase size of vegetable serving.

Schools in Punxsutawney, Penn., have increased the minimum serving of vegetables from ½ cup to ¾ cup for all students in kindergarten through eighth grade. [CNN]

6. The penalty tightens for releasing wild hogs in Kentucky.

Despite a roaring hog festival in Lexington last month, feral hogs are a growing concern to Kentuckians. From invading farmlands, natural habitats, and even threatening human health, these wild beasts are unwanted and beginning July 12, penalties will firm up for those who are letting them loose. [The Moore Head News / Reuters]

7. Law enforcement in Iowa can issue warrants by fax.

If you commit a crime and own a fax machine, you may receive a letter from the police letting you know you’re not off the hook. [CNN]

8. If you fly a POA or MIA flag in Kentucky it must be made in the United States.

American-made products are at the heart of another new ruling in Kentucky: if you hang a Prisoner of War or Missing in Action flag in front of your home or business, it MUST be made in the United States. Officers will be checking. [WDRB Kentucky]

9. Digital advertising messages must display for 8 seconds in a Virginia county.

According to this list of bizarre new laws via CNN, “A local ordinance requires electronic messages on outdoor advertising to remain in place for at least eight seconds to avoid driver distractions.” [CNN]

10. Georgia drops limit on using trademark Vidalia “sweet onion.”

Apparently, before today there was a limit to how many royalties or licenses were available for the trademark Vidalia “sweet onion.” But fear not Gerogonians, the ban has been lifted. Label as many things "sweet onion" as you wish. [Florida Times Union]

Joshua Witchger is an online assistant at Sojourners.
Dog police officer image via Katrina Brown / Shutterstock

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