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State legislators work to create laws to affect their voters and their needs, but this tradition has existed for hundreds of years. As such, laws are ‘on the books,’ or still active, that were created in the 19th and 20th centuries – generations before we were even a thought in someone’s head! In many instances, these weird laws in Missouri provided the foundation of many modern concepts – for example, older laws concerned with noise in public, usually related to car engines or drunkards, have formed our current laws on public nuisances. As one of the leading personal injury law firms in Missouri, The Simon Law Firm, P.C. respects the law and the protections and consequences it brings. While some of these laws may seem irrelevant, they may form the foundation for current laws, which is why they may still be active, even if not enforced.

No Bathtub Legs Resembling Animal Paws in Kansas City

One of the strange laws specific to the Kansas City area may cause problems for consumers who wish to purchase or use bathtubs with four feet designed to resemble animal claws or paws. Kansas City statutes actually prohibit the installation of bathtubs with clawed feet that resemble animal paws. Although it’s not certain why this became a law, one theory is that it may have been implemented to prevent the use of real animal paws when manufacturing clawfoot bathtubs.

white clawfoot tub with gold fixtures and feet.

The Brothel Law

Most locals are aware that any form of sex work is illegal, including brothels, but the so-called Brothel Law has been in circulation around the state for generations. In fact, many colleges and universities have opted against having school-funded Greek housing for sororities in an attempt to protect themselves from this law. Essentially, the law states that any dwelling that houses four or more unrelated females is considered a brothel, making it fall under the category of illegal sex work. This certainly makes it more difficult for young women looking for roommates in times of skyrocketing rental costs!

Diverse group of young adult women seated around a breakfast table, high-fiving.

Be Careful if Your Kids Take Out the Trash

If you have a beer with dinner, throw it out, and ask your underage child to take out the trash, be careful! In an unenforced law, it is illegal for children under the age of 21 to take out household trash that contains even one bottle of alcohol – even if it is empty. This situation falls under illegal possession of alcohol and could bring serious consequences, but it is luckily not the biggest worry of law enforcement. However, just to be careful, give your kids the night off from trash duty. They’ll be thankful in the long run.

young child taking the trash out at a home.

Yard Sale in Your Front Yard? Not in University City

University City, Missouri Ordinance Code Section 215.2330 restricts yard sales and garage sales in a resident’s front yard (“in front of the front building line”). Further, this section deems it unlawful for any person to have a yard sale or garage sale more than two days per calendar year. So, if you want to have a ‘yard’ sale, head to the backyard, light the grill, and invite the neighbors over as many days per calendar year you want.

Items displayed on a table at a yard sale, with shoppers browsing options.

Single Man? Pay the Bachelor Tax

In an 1821 Missouri revenue law, single men aged 21 and older had to pay $1 in taxes annually to stimulate the establishment of families. In essence, this law’s focus was to grow the Missouri population and collect revenue from a group who, on average, were more likely to be landowners and have access to more wealth. Luckily, this tax is no longer enforced and was never adjusted for inflation since $1 in 1821 is now around $23.

Single man standing alone, holding open, empty wallet

Don’t Run if You’re a Milkman

If you’re one of the few people still having milk delivered, make sure your milkman knows it is unlawful to run. This weird law may come from the worry that glass bottles tend to break when jostled or to keep them from dropping. If you have any worry your milkman is running to get you your milk, maybe just hit the grocery store and keep him from getting a ticket. 

Milk man delivering milk to a residence

Did Someone Say Fire? Better Get Dressed

In St. Louis City, it is illegal for an on-duty firefighter to rescue a woman who is nude or wearing a nightgown. In order to be rescued, she must be fully clothed. Luckily, this is not enforced, and society has grown to understand that even those who are nude or underdressed deserve to be rescued from fires. Take it from us, if there’s a fire – get out!

fireman entering a burning home.

In Perryville, Missouri, Limit Your Poultry Ownership

If you are a poultry owner in Perryville, you must already know there’s a limit to the number of chickens and roosters you can have on your property. Born from a wish to keep noise nuisance complaints low, there can only be twenty chickens, one of which may be a rooster, on one property of at least 20 acres per Perryville, Missouri Municipal Code Section 6.16.020. In Perryville, if a rooster’s call wakes you up and you don’t have one, your neighbor is in for a rude awakening.

group of chickens standing in an open field

Get the Civil Representation You Need, No Matter How Weird the Law

While these can be comfortably defined as “weird” or even “crazy” laws, they form the foundation of many concepts we hold close to us, including public nuisance law, illegal possession of alcohol by minors, and protection of goods. In many, and sometimes all, instances, these laws are disregarded or not taught at all in the interest of protecting society – we’re looking at you, firefighters! As counselors on the law, we pride ourselves in being educated in all laws of our great State – including the weird. If you have any civil law-related issues requiring counseling, please contact The Simon Law Firm today for a free, confidential consultation.

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