If you’ve ever established a business, you know the government produces about as much legalese as you can read in a dozen lifetimes. Amidst all the confusion, there are actually quite a few wacky definitions, laws, and court rulings that have been applied to small businesses over the years. For example, in Arizona, according to the rules on an angel investment tax incentive, a “qualified small business,” by definition, is one that “does not engage in activities that involve human cloning.” Although globally outlawed, apparently human cloning is particularly important for small businesses in Arizona.
After reading so many of these strange laws in business, I decided to find a few of the funniest ones and list them here:
(Note: most weird laws on the Internet are totally made up, so I’ve done my best to track down laws with the real sources.)
Strange Business Laws:
In Illinois, if your company existed during the slave era, you must provide documentation of the number and names of slaves (and strangely their insurers) before entering into a contract with the city of Chicago. (www.thedailybeast.com)
In Georgia, if you are going out of business, you must have a license to sell the rest of your inventory. This makes a little sense – I’ve seen some businesses that have hosted a “going-out-of-business-sale” each year for the last decade. But for some, laws like these are just tedious. www.augustaga.gov)
In Minnesota, soliciting business from a roadside is illegal. This makes sense (i.e. sign pollution, loitering, public safety), but what about the pizza restaurant that depends on the roadside dancing pizza slice? (sarcasm) (www.revisor.mn.gov)
In Kentucky, it is illegal to sell dyed baby fowl or rabbits. Unfortunately, if you are in the animal breeding business, you can say goodbye to pink and blue Easter-themed sales. (www.lrc.ky.gov)
In South Carolina, fortune telling is illegal unless you have a license. But, I guess that makes sense, because I can only trust a government-sanctioned telling of my future. (this 1920s law may not be in effect, but it’s still funny.) (Code of Laws of South Carolina)
In Nebraska, “barbers are forbidden to eat onions between 7 AM and 7 PM, during regular business hours.” I don’t know if this law is still in place, but I’d definitely vote for it. (Loony Laws & Silly Statutes)
In Rhode Island, if you own an airport, anything you advertise is considered obscene if it does not have any literary value. Easy way around this law: in an asterisk, write “to fly, or not to fly – that is the question.” (sos.ri.gov & www.lawserver.com)
Some of the laws out there are so obscure they would likely never be prosecuted. But it is interesting to think about where these laws could have possibly originated. What were businesses doing, for example, to get a law in place that banned dyeing rabbits?
Lendio’s mission is to empower your business by making small business loans simple through options, speed, and trust. If you think your business is eligible for funding and will not be limited due to strange business laws let us know and we would love to help.
As a small business owner, have you ever encountered any similar strange laws?
Small business advocate and proponent of the American Dream, Tyson Steele writes about the creativity and muscle it takes for the entrepreneur to build a successful business. From start-up innovation and marketing to company management and financing, Tyson translates the technical humdrum of biz-speak and bank-speak into something anyone can read.