10 'dumb' Utah laws according to the Internet — are they fact or fiction?

Published: Sunday, March 30 2014 4:47 p.m. MDT

According to the website dumblaws.com and other sites like it, Utah has a number of bizarre and downright silly laws on the books, from laws making a husband responsible for criminal acts committed by his wife while she's in his presence to a law making it illegal to sell alcohol during an emergency.

Many of the things listed on those sites are touted as truth all across the Internet, from Twitter to chacha.com, wiki.answers.com and stupidlaws.com.

But just because the Internet says something is true doesn't mean it actually is.

Here's an attempt to dig through 10 "dumb laws" supposedly enforced in Utah to see if the claims are built on fact or fiction — or sometimes a little bit of both.
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Probably intended to discourage fishing with sticks of dynamite or hand grenades.
"You gonna fish or just BS ??", said Bubba, while handing the F&G Warden a lit stick.

Pleasant Grove, UT

It's easy to find odd laws on the books. During my tenure as a paralegal in Washington, I found laws and ordinances (since repealed) imposing a $20 fine for selling poisoned biscuits, making it a misdemeanor to throw a snowball at a person, and requiring all bicycles to have fenders and a kickstand. One of my favorites was a section of the United States Code Title 18 making it a felony to correspond with a pirate.

Sandy, UT

Can we get rid of this motor permit or registration on single person pontoon and float tubes!

Uncle Gadianton
Salt Lake City, Utah

Often, the "silly" laws are based on a broad reading of the terms used, and are not actually on the books. For example, according to a broad reading of a local ordinance, it is illegal to push a baby carriage full of manure in a public park. That language does not exist, but there is a prohibition against brining animal waste (ie, manure) into a park. The definitions of "conveyance" include such things as bicycles, wagons, drays, and perambulators (ie, baby carriages). You may bring a baby carriage into a public park, but you may not bring animal waste. Hence, you may not push a baby carriage full of manure in a public park.

Makes sense when you think of the implications.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

At one point it was a violation of EPA regulations to allow an animal, raised in captivity, to defecate in a river or stream. Since most fish are raised in a hatchery, it was illegal for a hatchery fish to go potty in a river.


Permit Requirements for Rain Dances and other Weather Modifications probably evolved from claims of some practitioners in the late 1800's that certain rituals could also move clouds, thereby "stealing" rain for a client from an adjacent farmer. History books documenting these practices and others have no doubt been removed from school libraries, probably due to other "Politically Incorrect" viewpoints.

Walt Nicholes
Orem, UT

Great article! It should have been published BEFORE the legislature went into session.

I would propose a rule that whenever the legislature makes a new law they have to get rid of an old one. Searching for laws that have lost their meaning or value would be one of the more useful activities a legislator could do.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

We had about 500 dumb laws passed this year alone by the legislature.

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