List of strange state laws on the books in Michigan. These rules and regulations were passed by the Michigan state legislature, or in an individual in Michigan city, and for one reason or another, were never overturned, remaining active on the books until this day. Almost every city and state has some outdated, old-fashioned or even nonsensical laws on the books, and they can come about for a variety of reasons. Most frequently, the laws appeared in the books following a court ruling on a specific case, that then set a common law precedent from that point on.
Strange or unnecessary laws have become a popular source for humor, online and more generally in popular culture. TV shows like "The Simpsons" have had a lot of fun with the notion of small towns having peculiar regulations on the books. (In one episode, Mayor Quimby is surprised to find out the town charter mandates that all ducks wear long pants.)
Often, "dumb laws" as reported on websites and in humor books have been shown to be inaccurate. This sometimes happens because a real, sensible law has been exaggerated or misunderstood, turning into something that sounds silly or ridiculous. Other times, it is simply the result of a hoax being repeated enough times to gain some kind of credibility. If you think any of the laws on this page are not accurate or do not remain active in Michigan, let me know in the comments below.
list ordered by
Painted sparrow It is illegal to paint sparrows to sell them as parakeets. (Harper Woods)
Scowling It is illegal for a man to scowl at his wife on Sunday. (Detroit)
Keeping their cow Anyone can keep their cow on Main Street downtown at a cost of 3 cents per day. (Wayland)
Running pig It is illegal to let your pig run free in Detroit unless it has a ring in its nose. (Detroit)
Men seducing women No man may seduce and corrupt an unmarried girl, or else he risks five years in prison.
Making love in automobile Couples are banned from making love in an automobile unless the act takes place while the vehicle is parked on the couple’s own property. (Detroit)
Adultery Adultery is illegal, but can only be punished upon a complaint by the affected husband or wife.
Swear You may not swear in front of women and children. (Repealed, 2002)
Confiscating item Security guards at Joe Louis Arena will confiscate any item they feel might be thrown onto the ice. (Detroit)
Women's haircuts A woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s permission.
Handgun license Any person over the age of 12 may have a license for a handgun as long as he/she has not been convicted of a felony.
Decompression chamber It is illegal to kill a dog using a decompression chamber.
Bathing suits All bathing suits must have been inspected by the head of police. (Rochester)
Abandoned hoop skirt No person shall throw an abandoned hoop skirt into any street or on any sidewalk, under penalty of a five- dollar fine for each offense. (Grand Haven)
Cars on Sunday Cars may not be sold on Sunday.
Robber to file a law suit It is legal for a robber to file a law suit, if he or she got hurt in your house.
Drunk on trains Persons may not be drunk on trains.
Bounty for starling and crow There is a 3 cent bounty for each starling and 10 cent bounty for each crow killed in any village, township, or city in the state. (Repealed, 2006)
Serenade It is against the law to serenade your girlfriend. (Kalamazoo)