We tend to take the way our country is structured for granted. But the U.S.’s unique interplay of state and federal governments has left us with some incredibly bizarre state laws on the books all over the U.S. (and the eternal debate about states’ rights). Federal laws govern us all—but states can go off on their own tangents and enforce some truly strange stuff.
You’ve probably seen a list of ridiculous state laws more than once in your life (don’t sing off-key in North Carolina or don’t wear a duck on your head when crossing state lines in Minnesota, for example). They’re often related to animals and food, oddly enough. Unfortunately, a lot of the ones that get circulated (including those two) just aren’t true. Some are just plain made up, and some are misinterpretations of laws that exist or used to exist and got passed on like an endless game of Telephone. But, don’t worry. There are plenty that are very real.
How well do you know the REAL wacky state laws in our country? Take this quiz (with or without a duck on your head) and find out.
(Can’t see the quiz? Click here.)
But why do we have states anyway? Check out the most recent episode of Rewire’s new civics web series, America From Scratch, that explores some interesting alternatives you’ve probably never considered.
Featured image by Madeleine Deaton on Flickr.
Katie Moritz is Rewire’s senior editor and a Pisces who enjoys thrift stores, rock concerts and pho. She covered politics for a newspaper in Juneau, Alaska, before driving down to balmy Minnesota to help produce long-standing public affairs show “Almanac” at Twin Cities PBS. Now she works on this here website. Reach her via email at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.