No matter where you live in the country, every state has its own unique quirks and features. One of the more interesting aspects of individual states is the strange and sometimes laughably outrageous laws that they have. Most of these laws were formed long ago and have simply never been done away with. Others are newer laws that were started for a specific purpose and now seem pointless.
The great state of Minnesota is no exception. In the lines that follow, we’ll look at some of the weirdest, wackiest, and zaniest laws ever to be enforced in Minnesota. Some weird Minnesota laws have been done away with, but some remain active today. As Minnesotans, our goal is both to give you a good chuckle but also to make you more informed of some seriously weird Minnesota Laws.
1. The Minneapolis Alley Law
First on our list of weird Minnesota Laws involves the city of Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, there’s a law that prohibits using alleys as a through-street for pedestrians. In other words, you’ll have to take the long way around buildings rather than cut between them. This law is one that’s still enforced today.
2. The Nursing Home and Senior Center Bingo Law
One of the more interesting laws that Minnesota came up with was limiting senior care centers and nursing care facilities to a maximum of two bingo games per week. The law started in 1980 when charitable gaming was first introduced to these types of facilities in Minnesota. The same law also prohibited those visiting loved ones at nursing homes and senior centers from joining in on the game! Luckily, the ruling was reversed in 2015, which means that bingo is now a free game in these facilities.
3. The No Standing in the Roadway Law
Minnesota statute 169.22, titled “Hitchhiking; Solicitation of Business,” states, “No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any private vehicle.” This weird Minnesota law was formed long ago and remains relevant to this day. You’d better make sure you stay on the sidewalk if you’re conducting business in Minnesota!
4. The Mosquito Nuisance Law
Here’s a law that’s still relevant today, and for a good reason. Minnesota has over fifty species of mosquitos, and they’re known to carry a variety of diseases. Quite frankly, more states should consider passing this same law. Here’s how it goes:
According to section 18G:14 of the Minnesota Statutes, “The abatement or suppression of mosquitoes is advisable and necessary for the maintenance and improvement of the health, welfare, and prosperity of the people. Areas where mosquitoes incubate or hatch are declared to be public nuisances and may be abated under this section. Mosquito abatement may be undertaken under this section anywhere in the state by any governmental unit.”
5. The No Shorts on a Motorcycle Law
This is one of those weird Minnesota laws that probably started out with a grain of truth but veered very quickly into the untrue. While there’s a state law still enforced that prohibits people that are taking a motorcycle driving test from wearing shorts, there are no such laws for everyday motorcycle use.
The exact law states anyone attempting to receive their motorcycle license and is on a driving test must wear proper and protective clothing, including “a jacket or long-sleeved shirt.”
6. The No Dirty Tires Law
Next on our list of weird Minnesota laws is the No Dirty Tires Law. As muddy, dirty, and watery as Minnesota is, it seems crazy that there’s a law prohibiting vehicles on the highway from having dirty tires. However, in most parts of Minnesota, you’re considered a nuisance to the public if you drive a vehicle with dirty wheels or tires that end up leaving litter on the road while you’re driving.
7. The No Public Drunkenness Law
Where most states have laws that prohibit public drunkenness and consider it a public nuisance, Minnesota does just the opposite. As of 2010, Minnesota Statute # 340A.902 titled “Drunkenness Not A Crime” states that “No person may be charged with or convicted of the offense of drunkenness or public drunkenness.”
8. The No Adultery Law
Adultery in Minnesota is a crime, “When a married woman has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband, whether married or not, both are guilty of adultery and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.” – Minn. Stat. 609.36.
While this weird Minnesota law sounds odd and targets mostly women, there are a few things to keep in mind. Only the offended spouse can initiate the ruling, and it’s very rarely successful when they do so. The person filing the complaint has one year to do so from the time the offense happened. While this law is still in place today, it’s very rarely enforced by a ruling judge.
9. The Wild Boar Law
As part of the Feral Swine Report, there is an actual law that prohibits the breeding, possessing, transporting, or importing of wild boars into the state of Minnesota. This ruling is meant to keep wild boars from invading and running rampant through Minnesota and possibly endangering the ecosystem.
Minnesota has numerous other laws in regards to plants, animals, and the ecosystem in general. There are strict restrictions on adding foreign plants and animals to Minnesota so make sure to check your state and local jurisdictions if you’re thinking about importing plants or animals.
10. The Rodent Law
At one time or another, Minnesota had a serious rodent problem that forced them to create a bounty system for dead rodents, and here’s how it goes.
“The four feet of striped and gray gophers and woodchucks, and both front feet of pocket gophers shall be produced to the chair of the town board of the town where they were killed, and if the chair shall be satisfied that they were killed within the designated territory and by the person producing them, the chair shall certify to the county auditor the number of each kind so killed.” – Minnesota Statute #348.13.
The law goes on to say that any town in Minnesota can come up with a similar law for whatever rodents are causing a problem at the time.
Wrapping Up Weird Minnesota Laws
While it might seem difficult to believe, each of the laws listed above are still enforced outside of the Nursing Home Bingo Law which was revoked in 2015. While some of them may seem strange or obscene, many of them actually serve a purpose and were enacted for a good reason. Whether or not these laws will remain relevant and in existence is up to the governing bodies throughout Minnesota.
If you’re looking for things to do in Minnesota, that we can guarantee are legal, check out our Things to Do page where you’ll find awesome things to do all over this great state.
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.