The Weird and Wild Laws of New England

Federal legislative history

If you do any legislative history research on New England’s law books, you’re bound to come across some pretty weird legal statutes. Here are just a few of the stranger ones out there.


  • In Vermont, it’s reportedly illegal to deny the existence of God.
  • Women also have to get written permission from their husbands if they want to wear false teeth, too.
  • At one time in Vermont, people weren’t allowed to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole. Thankfully, this convenient solution for giraffe owners taking their pets for a walk is now legal again.


  • In Massachusetts, it’s okay if candy is 1% alcoholic, but anymore and it’s illegal.
  • Speaking of alcohol, there’s a legal statute expressly forbidding people from giving hospital patients beer.
  • Unfortunately, men aren’t allowed to hunt on Sundays in Massachusetts, but luckily, they are supposed to bring their rifles with them to church that day.
  • If you go to a shooting range in Massachusetts, don’t set up a target that looks like a person, because that’s illegal.
  • No matter how much of a lothario they may be, taxi drivers aren’t allowed to make love in the front seat of their vehicles when they’re working.
  • Alcoholic drinks specials are also illegal, much to the chagrin of anyone who wants to go to happy hour.
  • You’re also not allowed to have a boxing match in public, either.


  • In Maine, you need to take a shotgun with you to church. You know, in case the Native Americans attack.
  • No matter how much you might hate flying, you need to stay on the plane, because it’s illegal to step out of a plane mid-flight in Maine.
  • Make sure you take your Christmas decorations down in a timely manner, too. You have about two weeks, or until January 14th, or else you’ll be fined.
  • In Biddeford, there’s no gambling… at the airport. So don’t pack the poker chips for your flight.
  • It’s also illegal to roller skate down the sidewalk, which is fair, because roller skates can logically be considered a vehicle if you think about it.
  • In Augusta, it’s illegal to walk down the street playing the violin.

These are just some of the weird legal statutes that seem without any legislative intent you can find if you do law research on New England. If you know of any others, feel free to share them in the comments! Learn more about this topic here.

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