By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog
OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — To read some city and state laws, you’d think it’s all a big joke.
But while April 1 is a day dedicated to farcical humor from coast to coast, we can assure you that some of Kansas’ most hilarious codifications are all too true. Plus, we’ve got links to the official law books to prove it.
It also applies to deer, fowl, or any other game animal, really. While most outdoorsmen are familiar with the state’s prohibition against road hunting (as in the combined literal and figurative versions of shouting “shotgun”), state law goes even farther than standard forms of terrestrial travel. K.S.A. 32-1003 explicitly states that it’s unlawful for anyone to “take any game animal or furbearing animal from a motorboat, airplane, motor vehicle or other water, air or land vehicle.” The exception is when someone has been granted special permission by the state, or, you know, if they’ve been hired by the USDA to hunt feral hogs from a helicopter.
Slow down and take that next turn a little more gently, because one wrong squeak in Derby could land you in the clink. Since 1997, Derby municipal code has forbid audibly reckless driving by outlawing the operation of a vehicle “in such a manner as to cause the tires to screech.” Failure to follow the letter of the law is punishable by up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail.
Who knew that for the past 33 years Topeka children have been flagrantly breaking the law? Because according to Topeka city code, Sec. 54-123, snowball fights are technically illegal. The law plainly states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to throw any stones, snowballs or any other missiles upon or at any vehicle, building, tree or other public or private property, upon or at any other person in any public or private way or place or enclosed or unenclosed ground.”
This particular law has earned the ire of several state lawmakers in recent years, and while a movement is afoot to repeal its existence, it’s still on the books for now. In Kansas it’s illegal for one person to be issued a license to operate more than one liquor store, “except that the spouse of a licensee may own and hold a retailer’s license for another retail establishment.” So the news isn’t all bad, unless you’re an entrepreneur and a life-long bachelor.
For our final slice of legal absurdity we travel back to the state’s capital city of Topeka, where in 1981 city leaders sought to bring some peace and quiet to the calamity that are haunted houses. According to municipal code 9-162, “the audience of any haunted house must be orderly at all times, and it shall be unlawful for any person attending such haunted house to create a disturbance in the audience.” So, you know, keep it down while you’re being chased by the guy wearing a bloody mask carrying a fake chainsaw, no matter how terrifyingly real it may seem.
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