Dumb Laws in Florida (and Tampa Bay)

11:09 AM, Mar 29, 2011   |    comments
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Always remember to put money in the parking meter when parking your elephant in front of it.


TAMPA BAY, Florida - You can't cruise down a hill with your car in neutral.  If you want to bring wine home from a restaurant, you must first order an entree, a vegetable or salad, and bread.  You can't drive cattle through the streets of St. Petersburg without permission. 

Yes, all those laws are actually on the books in Florida and you could be thrown in jail for violating them.  Of course, you won't be.

Of the thousands of laws that keep order in the state, a small percentage of them are decades old and routinely ignored.  Why?  Because repealing the outdated language is often too difficult.

If you google "dumb laws in Florida," dozens of webpages with hundreds of silly, weird, and unbelievable laws pop up.  They include:

According to researchers at Stetson Law School, some of the online oddities are extreme interpretations of legitimate laws.  Others are old wives tales.  However, a majority are actual laws that have become insignificant over time but were never actually repealed.

"To do the research to go back and determine what still may be a valid law would take a lot of time," said Alyssa Folce, Research Librarian at Stetson.  "I think it would take a lot of money as well, so I think sometimes, over the years, things just tend to fall out, but not necessarily repealed."

One representative in the Florida House is determined to change that.  Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, filed a handful of bills this year to repeal what he considers outdated laws:

  • HB 4007 - Involves chauffeur's licenses, which are no longer distributed.
  • HB 4009 - Related to regulations on outdoor theaters for movies, plays and operas.
  • HB 4017 - Repeals language that makes adultery illegal as well as unwed couples lewdly and lasciviously associating or living together.
  • HB 4019 - Involves a law that prohibits motor vehicles from coasting down hills in neutral.
  • HB 4021 - Related to regulations on water-dispensing machines.
  • HB 4113 - Repeals language that makes riding a bike with no hands illegal.
  • HB 4121 - Related to regulations on sale, possession, transfer, or other disposing of clove cigarettes.

Some other weird Florida laws appear to have been wiped off the record books as municipalities renew their ordinances every few decades.  They include an old Madeira Beach law that prohibits newspaper delivery from a plane and a Sarasota law that bans singing in a swimsuit in a public place.

More from the web (we cannot confirm their authenticity) - including some pictured in our gallery:

Connect with 10 News reporter Noah Pransky on Facebook at www.facebook.com/noahpransky or Twitter at www.twitter.com/noahpransky.

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