Local News

Wild, Wacky Laws Are Still On The Books In N.C.

Posted February 3, 2001

— Wacky, outdated North Carolina laws are like funny one-liners, they are just for laughs. For example, elephants are not allowed to plow cotton fields and singing off-key in the state can get you busted.

Research historian Ansley Wegner says, besides the strange laws, town ordinances were a bit far-fetched as well.

"For example, the Topsail Beach ordinance that says hurricanes would not be permitted within the town limits," she says. "You just wonder how they ever expected to enforce those [laws]."

A Charlotte ordinance requires women to cover their bodies with at least 16 yards of cloth at all times. There is even an ordinance forbidding women to wear tight clothes.

North Carolina laws are definitely changing with the times. What was considered illegal hundreds of years ago has become a way of life today. For example, two people who check into a hotel room, pretending to be married, may not raise any eyebrows today, but it is still against the law, It is also a misdemeanor for two unmarried people to co-habitate.

Four-term Ashville lawmaker Lanier Cansley says such laws are just unenforceable. Like in Chapel Hill, people can not ride their horse on the town's sidewalks. They also cannot ride their horse through public streets at unusually high speeds.

"I expect if we went through and searched all the statutes we can find a lot of things that, at the time, was probably very serious," he says. "Now, we scratch our heads and wonder what they were thinking of."

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