19 Strange, Surprising & Serious Laws — In Photos

Photo: Olivia Locher.
Olivia Locher was photographing a friend for her senior thesis when he mentioned — out of the blue — that, in Alabama, it is illegal to carry an ice-cream cone in your back pocket.

The conversation soon moved on to other topics.

But Locher did not.

For months, she found that bit of trivia popping back into her head. So she decided to do some research on what other strange statutes were out there.

“I found out there wasn’t a shortage of bizarre laws," the 25-year-old photographer recalled.

That discovery sparked an effort to illustrate reports of unusual laws across all 50 states. With the help of the internet, a Crazy Laws children's book published by Scholastic in the 1970s, and a fact-checker, Locher has tracked down apparent statutes on everything from bouncing pickles to more serious topics, like Peeping-Tom photos.

The resulting photo series, I Fought The Law, is now set to be made into a book that will be published in 2017.

Not all the laws Locher featured are still in effect — or enforced if they do remain on the books — and the origins and intent of some remain murky. In some cases, such as Massachusetts' ban on upskirt photos, she found that there were serious issues that sparked the legislation.

While Locher's bright and playful images give the statutes a satirical spin, the project raises a more serious point about politics: The hundreds of decisions, big and small, made every year by local and state lawmakers matter.

"What they’re setting and what’s going into motion really can affect our daily lives," Locher said.

Ahead, a look at some of the strange and surprising laws Locher found.


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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Alabama, it is illegal to have an ice-cream cone in your back pocket.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Arizona, you may not have more than two dildos in a house.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In California, nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Connecticut, pickles must bounce to officially be considered pickles.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Florida, a person may not appear in public clothed in liquid latex.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Indiana, it’s illegal for a man to be sexually aroused in public.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Kentucky, it’s illegal to lick a toad.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Louisiana, it’s illegal to gargle in public.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Massachusetts, photographing upskirt photos can be considered a crime.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Missouri, it’s illegal to deface a milk carton.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Nebraska, it’s illegal for a parent to perm their child’s hair without a state license.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Nevada, it’s illegal to put an American flag on a bar of soap.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Ohio, it’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man's portrait.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal to tie a dollar bill to a string and pull it away when someone tries to pick it up.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Rhode Island, it is illegal to wear transparent clothing.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Texas, it is illegal for children to have unusual haircuts.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Virginia, spitting on a seagull is punishable by a fine.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Washington, it’s illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag.
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Photo: Olivia Locher.
In Wyoming, it’s illegal for a hairdresser to groom one’s pubic hair.
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