The 8 Weirdest, Strangest, and Stupidest Laws in Illinois

The ‘Land of Lincoln’ has its fair share of obscure laws in its Constitution that have been on its law books for quite a while. For instance, It’s illegal to catch more than six bullfrogs and eavesdropping on your own conversation is considered a Class 4 felony.

Below is a fascinating list of eight weird laws from the state of Illinois.

1. Don’t keep smelly dogs

The city of Galesburg in Knox County has a law prohibiting people from “keeping or maintaining any animal, poultry or fowl in such a manner to cause inconvenience or disturbance to other persons by reason of noise, odor or other cause”.

2. No ‘fancy riding’ in city streets

Still in the city of Galesburg, you are not allowed to remove both hands from the handlebars of a bicycle or motorcycle or feet from the pedals or practice any acrobatic tricks or fancy-riding on any city street. However, you can get a permit from the Chief of Police if you intend to hold a riding event.

3. Don’t put up shows in store windows

Back in the 1800s, stores in Chicago would put on spectacular shows in their windows. This, in turn, would attract thousands of onlookers who would, in turn, clog city streets and disrupt human and cargo transport. The city authority subsequently outlawed all store-front window shows.

When opening a business or an LLC in Illinois, it’s important to know the rules and regulations the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in IIlinois and how to find a great Illinois registered agent can help you avoid any legal issues when launching a business in the state.

4. Movie titles should not mislead viewers

This Chicago law was put in place in 1919 during the silent movie era. It states that  “A movie title shall either be full enough to describe in general terms the nature and character of the picture…or shall be accompanied by other explanatory wording, pictures or other advertising matter.” City authorities enacted this law to try and shield local audiences from films that the officials deemed immoral.

5. Don’t stand on the sidewalk

In the city of Carbondale in Jackson County, it is illegal for a person to stand on the sidewalk with the purpose of not allowing another person to walk past or whatever. This ordinance was enacted to stop panhandlers and vagrants who have often taken camp to beg for money or stop/harass people who are downtown for dinner or business.

6. It’s ‘Joe-lee-Ette’. Say it right.

The founding fathers of the city of Joliet in the counties of Will and Kendall, grew tired of visitors mispronouncing the city’s name as, “Jolly-Ette”, while all the town folk called it “Joe-Lee-Ette”. They issued an edict prohibiting people from mispronouncing the city’s name, punishable by a $5 fine.

7. Don’t burn bird feathers

Back in Galesburg, it is illegal to burn any animal matter within the city limits, which included feathers and hides.

8. Businesses must report slave deals

This is a very old edict. Back during the days of slavery, it was mandatory for business owners to sift through their records and report any previous business they had in dealing with slaves.


Andrew M. Weisberg Law Offices
Stupid Laws – Illinois
WBEZ 91.5

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