Ohio didn’t officially become a state until 1953. It was declared a state in 1803 but didn’t get the presidential stamp of approval until President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it off as one. He back-dated the declaration to the original date.
A state constitutional convention was held in November 1802 in Chillicothe, Ohio, and it adopted what became known as the 1802 Constitution which would later be abandoned over the next few decades when the state’s population had grown larger.
The state’s current Constitution was drafted by a convention in 1850-51 and subsequently adopted in a statewide referendum on June 17, 1851, taking effect on 1 September of that year.
Despite the document going through amendments a record 169 times (the most recent amendment was approved by voters in 2018), there are a couple of peculiar laws that have slipped through the hammer. I scoured the internet and came up with a list of eight weird laws from Ohio that are still on the books but are not rigorously enforced. Perhaps you’ve broken a few of them.
1. Electric fences are banned
In the city of Canton, putting up an electric fence around your property is considered to be a crime. This law states that “No person shall erect or maintain any fence charged with electrical current. Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.”
2. Owning a bathtub is against the law
This law was passed back in the early 1800s when the Cholera and Smallpox epidemics were wiping out families across the state. The state authorities figured out that part of the problem was the common practice of sharing bathwater among family members; they curtailed the practice by banning bathtubs.
3. No arrests on Sundays and the 4th of July
According to Section 2331.12 of Ohio law, “No person shall be arrested during a sitting of the senate or house of representatives, within the hall where such session is being held, or in any court of justice, during the sitting of such court, or on Sunday, or on the fourth day of July.”
4. If you lose a pet lion in Ohio you’ll be arrested if you don’t report the loss within an hour
Any person who owns any member of a species of the animal kingdom that escapes from his custody or control must report the loss to the sheriff of the county within an hour. Whoever violates this law is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree which is punishable by six months in jail or more than $1,000 in fines.
5. You can’t make ‘Yo Momma’ jokes in shopping centers
In the city of Coshocton, there are a set of rules that govern human interactions within shopping malls including this one that states, “No one shall, in the presence or hearing of another person, curse or abuse the person or use any violently abusive language to the person concerning him or her or any of his male or female relatives under circumstances reasonably calculated to provoke a breach of the peace.”
6. No horse-drawn carriages on the freeway
In Bay Village, any person who operates an animal-led carriage, pushcart, or bicycle on the freeway will be guilty of a minor misdemeanor. A repeat offense is punishable under a misdemeanor of the fourth degree which is a jail sentence of 30 days and a fine not to exceed $250.
7. Don’t store junk in your house
According to this municipal code from the village of Lowellville, “No dwelling, or the lot or premises thereof, shall be used for the storage or handling of rags or junk.”
8. The breeding of whales is prohibited
The city of Perrysburg has outlawed the keeping, maintenance, or possession of any “restricted animal species, ”or any other animal species which, because of its size, constitutes a danger to property or to human life if it were to escape from secure quarters. The law mentions dolphins, porpoises, and whales as part of these restricted species.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this short list of weird laws from Ohio. When starting a business in the state, you need to understand the rules and regulations that are imposed on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Ohio and how to find a great registered agent in Ohio can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.