Obscure Laws In Washington State That Will Leave You Wondering

Lefty Graves

Guilty of breaking the lawKaysha/Unsplash

It’s not unusual to find some obscure laws that are still on the books today. Washington state has its fair share of obscure laws that are either going to leave you wondering (what were they thinking?) or laughing.

Most of the obscure laws have been forgotten and were simply put in place to placate someone or on the whim of someone who thought that they had more power than they had. Some of the laws such as the ergonomic rules that used to be on the books were put in place to ensure that employees weren’t injured on the job.

Unfortunately, that may have meant hiring another employee to watch and make sure that no one was lifting more than 10 pounds, reaching over their head too frequently, kneeling or squatting too frequently, or even moving boxes at the wrong pace.

While it’s commendable to have laws in place to help protect people, it’s amazing how many laws are still on the books that really don’t make any sense at all. Here are a few that have left us laughing or scratching our heads.

Pillow Labels

Do you know that annoying tag that hangs from your pillow? Typically they state “The removal of this tag is prohibited under penalty of the law”. Or they may say that there is something such as a $500 fine for removing the tag.

According to one of the obscure laws, you can be fined $500 for removing that tag. I guess I’d better turn myself in, I rip mine off as soon as I get new pillows home.


Sorry Bloomsday, this one may affect you! “The state of Washington doesn’t allow marathon dancing, skipping, sliding, gliding, rolling or crawling”. I suspect that means no “bar hopping” or “pub crawls”, no skipping to and from class, and no rolling downhills. As for crawling, they are going to have to have a children’s section for infants who are just beginning to crawl.


No person should walk around in public if they have a cold. Hmm...perhaps had we heeded this one sooner we could have avoided the pandemic altogether. It does make one wonder.

The penalty: Those who willfully expose themselves to a person or animal while they have a contagious or an infectious disease, without their knowledge, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Traffic Crimes

One law that was intended to reduce the incidence of traffic crimes states that “It’s mandatory for motorists that have criminal intent stop at the city limits and call the chief of police to let them know they are entering town”.

That could be a real game-changer for a lot of the drivers out there that are running red lights, failing to yield, and finding other ways to break the law. I wonder how many, if any, people have stopped to call the chief of police before they drive on into town and commit a traffic crime.

Concealed Weapons

In Seattle, you aren’t allowed to carry a concealed weapon that is over six feet in length. I can see where this may have been a challenge for shorter people.

Ugly Horse

In the city of Wilbur, it’s illegal to ride an ugly horse. Of course, this could be up to the interpretation of each individual. One man's ugly horse may be another man's beauty!

So next time you venture out, consider the laws for your local town and make sure that you’re following them so that you aren’t guilty of a misdemeanor or worse.





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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She writes about all things Washington. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington State.

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