Minnesota is unique for many reasons: it has 11,842 lakes spanning over 10 acres each, is home to the Mall of America, and has an extensive skyway system. However, many people overlook the weird laws in MN that make the state just a little more unique.
Many laws have good intentions, but some of them leave us scratching our heads. Here are five weird laws in Minnesota and some laws that are more urban legend than reality.
Five Weird Laws in Minnesota
1. Bingo Just Two Times Per Week in a Nursing Home
In nursing homes, Bingo is a popular game older residents love to play it.
However, some Minnesota lawmakers wanted to limit nursing home Bingo to just two times per week. If you visited the nursing home, you could not play Bingo with the residents.
Thankfully, the law was voted out in 2015, so nursing home residents can now enjoy a game or two or three of Bingo without worrying about breaking the law.
2. No Shirt, No Motorcycle Driving
Rumors are floating around the Internet that you cannot operate a motorcycle without wearing a long-sleeved shirt. For anyone who wants to drive around the state’s many lakes during the summer months, this law seems a little crazy.
Luckily, the law (7411.0565 Motorcycle) applies to motorcycle endorsement program instructors.
Well, specifically, the law requires instructors to have their students wear protective gear, such as:
- A jacket or long-sleeved shirt
- Eye protection
- Shoes or boots
However, the law explicitly mentions motorcycle endorsement programs and not anyone who rides a motorcycle otherwise. So, if you are cruising around Lake Country Scenic Byway and want to wear a short-sleeved shirt or no shirt at all, the law would not stop you.
But for your safety, throw on a heavy jacket.
3. Mosquitoes Are a Public Nuisance
No one enjoys swatting mosquitoes or walking back into their home with mosquito bites on their arms or legs. However, Minnesota Statutes take the nuisance of these pests a step further with Section 18G.14 MOSQUITO ABATEMENT.
The law states that: “Areas where mosquitoes incubate or hatch are declared to be public nuisances.”
With 10,000+ lakes and large bodies of water in Minnesota, mosquitoes are out and about in most areas of the state. However, you need to read the law carefully and realize that it is not the mosquitoes that are a public nuisance, but the actual public area where the mosquitoes multiply.
4. Drunkenness Is Not a Crime
Public drunkenness may be a crime in other states, but Minnesota has a specific law making it not a crime.
According to 340A.902 Drunkenness Not a Crime:
- Public drunkenness is not a crime
- You cannot be convicted or charged with an offense for drunkenness in public
However, the law states that although drunkenness is not a crime, it does not stop you from being convicted of other offenses. For example, you cannot operate a vehicle in the state while intoxicated.
Also, if your actions damage someone’s property or injure them, the law can hold you responsible for the crime.
Essentially, if you want to head downtown, drink to your heart’s content, and walk home or call an Uber, it is not a crime. If, however, someone cannot hold their liquor well, assaults someone, or engages in another illegal activity, it's a crime.
5. Better Keep Your Truck Tires Clean in Minnetonka
In Minnetonka, it is illegal for a truck to deposit any of the following on roadways:
- Sticky substances
- Other materials
The law is part of the city’s 845.010 Public Nuisance laws and is still in effect.
Weird Laws That Are More Folklore Than Reality
The five laws listed above are or once were in effect. But you will find a few other laws that seem outrageous and maybe more folklore than reality.
A few of the many weird laws in Minnesota that fall into the folklore category include:
- You cannot cross state lines with a chicken/duck on your head. It is not clear who or why anyone would want to carry a duck or chicken on their head, but as far as we know, this law no longer exists if it ever did.
- All bathtubs must have feet. Again, this does not make much sense, but if it were true, almost everyone with a modern home would violate the law.
- Keep your elephant off of Main Street. There are rumors about it being illegal to bring your elephant to Main Street. However, we could not find any laws that mention elephants in Minnesota.
- Minneapolis law does not allow you to drive a red car down Lake Street. We have seen this claim everywhere, but we could not track down a specific statute validating this claim. However, many people drive up and down all parts of Lake Street in red vehicles without getting pulled over.
- Stop teasing the skunks. There was said to be a law that made it illegal to tease skunks. Unfortunately, we could not find the source of this claim. However, we did find that it is illegal to exchange, sell, import, export, or barter skunks in the state.
- A woman cannot cut her hair without her husband’s permission. We could not find any laws that prohibit women from cutting their hair.
Perhaps some of these laws were a misinterpretation of past laws or just folklore that people passed down over the years without doing much research.
However, it would be quite interesting to see an elephant parked on Main Street.