The Sunshine State is the kind of place where you don’t go without your digital photo camera or without a craving for oranges. Once you are there, however, you are subjected to Florida laws, even the most absurd and weird ones. In case you are wondering what laws we are talking about, read on.
Elephant parking is illegal
Isn’t it just terrible when you return to your nicely parked elephant just to find a parking fine on it? We are not exactly sure how common it is for pachyderms to roam the streets of Florida, but the lawmakers probably thought it’s better to be safe than sorry.
This very specific law seems to have been established in 1927, when the Ringling Bros Circuit moved for the winter in the town of Sarascota, Florida.
Corrupting public morals is a misdemeanor
Gone are the days of ancient Greece when Socrates, accused of corrupting the minds of the youth, was sentenced to death and had to drink poisonous hemlock.
In Florida, corrupting public morals is considered a public nuisance and declared a second degree misdemeanor offense. The punishment could be a fine or up to two months in jail, but one must agree this is a step up from the hemlock-drinking days of Socrates.
Cohabitation is illegal (repealed)
If you were unmarried and living with your partner, then you were breaking the law in Florida until not long ago. While probably it was rarely or never enforced, this law passed in 1868 and it was in place for nearly 150 years. There were at least three attempts to repeal this act, all of them unsuccessful, until the fourth try finally managed to pass on March 16, 2015.
Approximately half a million couples recently broke this so called “living in sin” law, according to the Florida census from 2010. The unmarried couples were facing fines up to $500 or 60 days in jail. The first phase of the successful repeal attempt was voted almost unanimously, with only one “no” vote.
It’s illegal to drive over graves
One must assume this happened quite often if the Florida legislators decided to implement a law that strictly prohibits driving on graves.
The act explicitly states that drivers are only allowed to use the paved roads, parking areas and established roadways in the cemeteries. According to the same law, the cyclists are not allowed on the premises of the graveyards, so they need to park their bicycle outside the fenced area.
All computers and smartphones are banned
This was done accidentally in 2013, when the act that was meant to ban Internet cafés was worded so poorly that basically made all computers and smartphones in the state illegal. We surely hope there will never be a law that accidentally bans air conditioning in the Sunshine State or the Governor might face public uproar.
Although we are not really sure what happened with all the computer and smartphones owners, every Internet café in Florida was shut down at the moment the law passed. This bill was considered a necessary step in an attempt to prohibit electronic gambling devices.
Swamp buggies are not considered vehicles
The definition of a motor vehicle was revised in January 2013 by Florida legislators, excluding, among others, swamp buggies from this category.
The new definition states that cars, motorcycles, trailers, semi-trailers, tractors and trucks that operate on public roads are motor vehicles, while bicycles and mopeds are not. Nor are swamp buggies. It seems that 2013 was a good year for Florida lawmakers considering that’s when they accidentally banned computers and smartphones, as well.
Doors of all public buildings must open outward
This act explicitly states that “All buildings erected in this state for operatic, theatrical, or other public entertainments of whichever kind shall be so built that the shutters to all entrances to said building should open outwardly and be so arranged so as to readily allow any person inside said building to escape therefrom in case of fire or other accident.”
Although there is a lot of good intention behind this law as it’s thought as a public safety issue, it often happens to be overlooked. Ignoring it, however, is not really a smart move and those that don’t comply are guilty of a third-degree felony.
No unused cars in Welaka
The town of Welaka, Florida, likes to keep its streets clean and for this purpose there is a law that strictly forbids any abandoned vehicles to be stored or deposited on both public and private land within the town limits.
In theory, it might sound like a very good initiative, but it refers to private land, as well, so where are the residents supposed to store a car they don’t use, maybe in the neighboring town? We don’t know if because of this law Welaka is a more bicycle friendly town than others, but maybe the residents should consider getting a swamp buggy? That’s not considered a motor vehicle, after all.
Dwarf tossing is illegal
Everyone would agree to this, especially little men, but we find it a bit alarming that it had to be spelled out in a 2010 act.
The law prohibits “every person maintaining, owning, or operating a commercial establishment located in this state at which alcoholic beverages are available for sale on the premises, from undertaking or allowing any contest or promotion or any other form of recreational activity involving the exploitation, endangering the health, welfare, and safety of any person with dwarfism.” Was that actually a thing?
Pregnant pigs can’t be confined in cages
And this is not stated in any common bill, but in the fundamental law of any state, the Constitution. Amendment 10 of the Florida Constitution limits cruel treatment of pigs during pregnancy.
The confinement of a pig during pregnancy in a cage or another enclosure is illegal, if it’s not big enough to allow the animal to turn around freely. The only exception allowed is in the case the confinement is determined by veterinary purposes – in other words, if it’s for the pig’s own good.