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The 10 Most Absurd Laws in Texas

Posted on October 17, 2016 in

The Lone Star State is famous for more than just its friendly residents and affinity for barbecue. Texas is also home to some of the strangest laws in America. Many have become outdated and absurd for the modern Texan, yet they’re still active and enforceable. If you aren’t careful, you may find yourself convicted for one of these 10 absurd laws you probably didn’t realize existed.

You Can’t Sell Your Eyes

Texas Penal Code Section 48.02 prohibits the purchase and sale of human organs. This includes the eyes, kidney, liver, heart, lungs, skin, and other human organs or tissues. The law does not include hair or blood. If a person intentionally sells his or her organs, it’s a legal offense classified as a Class A misdemeanor. If you were considering selling your eyes to make a quick buck, think again – selling your organs in Texas can result in one year in the county jail and/or fines of up to $4,000.

You Can’t Own the Encyclopedia Britannica

The State of Texas outlawed the entire Encyclopedia Britannica because it has a formula for making beer at home. Lawmakers evidently don’t want Texans to create their own breweries at home. Breaking this provision can lead to fines and jail time – all for owning a book.

You Can’t Take More Than Three Sips (or Swallows) of Beer While Standing

Speaking of beer, there’s an absurd law that’s still active in LeFors, Texas. In LeFors, it’s illegal to take more than three sips (or swallows) of beer while standing. The background of this law is obscure, but likely has something to do with standing while intoxicated.

You Can’t Milk Another Person’s Cow

As tempting as milking someone else’s cow may be, you must refrain from this action in Texas. Older laws in the Texas Penal Code prohibit the milking of someone else’s cow, punishable with a fee not exceeding $10. Current laws still make milking another person’s cow illegal, but now the perpetrator faces theft of personal property charges.

You Must Warn Your Victims 24 Hours in Advance

If you’re planning a criminal activity in Texas, you must warn your victims within 24 hours of the crime. You must explain the nature of your upcoming crime, orally or in writing, giving your victims fair warning. This strange law is a recent addition to Texas’ anticrime provisions in an effort to reduce crime.

You Can’t Eat Your Neighbor’s Garbage Without Permission

One man’s trash is another man’s criminal conviction in Texas. If you eat your neighbor’s garbage without permission, you may face jail time for trespassing and stealing another’s property.

You Can’t Go Barefoot Without a Permit

Texas takes “No shirt, no shoes, no service” a bit further than most states. In certain Texan cities, citizens can’t walk around barefoot without first obtaining a $5 permit to do so. This law deals with city sanitation and appearance. Only when a citizen obtains the barefoot permit is he or she free to go shoeless.

You Can’t Shoot a Buffalo From the Second Floor of a Hotel

At one point in time, it may not have been unusual for buffalo to roam through the streets of town. Nowadays, however, this doesn’t happen often enough for the state to need an ordinance protecting the rights of such buffalo. However, there’s still an active Texas law that prohibits shooting a buffalo from the second floor of a hotel. This law is very specific, apparently allowing the shooting of buffalo from other locations.

You Can’t Feather Dust a Public Building

Texas currently prohibits the dusting of any public building with a feather duster. It’s unclear whether the dusting of a building with another tool is legal… or why the state would need to outlaw such an obscure act.

You Can Legally Marry Someone By Stating It Out Loud

Common law marriage provisions make a marriage legally valid if both parties agree to marry, live as a married couple, and tell others that they have married. If you publicly announce that the person is your husband or wife three times, your marriage is legal in the eyes of Texas. A few caveats: both parties must be at least 18 years old, unmarried, and not related to each other.