Testing Outrageous Laws

Eva Hadjiyanis, staff writer

Many current laws in Minnesota seem too outrageous to believe. After reading about a few of these odd state laws, the Zephyrus team decided to try them out to see which have legitimate consequences, and which are ignored by the police. This adventure brought our team all over the state on a bright Sunday morning in October.

The first law we tested was that it is illegal to cross the Wisconsin state border with a chicken on your head. We found a nice grassy area close to the Wisconsin border sign and took turns crossing from one state to another with a protesting chicken atop of our heads. Although a few cars slowed down to watch us and plenty of police cars drove past, nobody seemed to care that high schoolers were wearing live poultry. We put this law into the “ignored” category and moved on to the next one on our list.

We needed a muddy truck to test the Minnetonka law that dirty vehicles cannot be driven, so we drove to a lake right outside of Minnetonka named “mud lake” and drove past the picnic area into the mud surrounding the lake, covering the bottom of Brooke Sheehy’s 2015 Ford pickup truck. Then we crossed into Minnetonka, driving around the town. About a mile into this crusade a siren started sounding behind us. Excited, we pulled over and waited for the cop to come to the window. Unfortunately, he hadn’t even noticed the muddy truck and had pulled us over for driving 55 miles an hour on a residential road. One $300 ticket and a saddened group of Zephyrites later, we drove towards the next stop in silence.

The third test was 63.5 miles north of Minnetonka, in a city of St. Cloud. According to city laws, eating a hamburger on a Sunday is against the law. Despite this law, the first McDonald’s that we found was happy to serve us Big Macs and didn’t care to mention our unlawful actions. Once we sat down we looked around and sure enough, nearly everyone in the restaurant was eating a burger of some sort. We asked one resident of St. Cloud, Eileen Tufar, about the law and she laughed. “I think that law was a joke when it was passed in 1879. Everyone around here knows about it; it’s kind of like an inside joke shared by the whole town,” said Tufar. So the third test was a fail, and we piled back into the muddy red pickup that still smelled like chicken waste.

The last law that we put to the test was that people are forbidden from walking down alleyways in Minneapolis. At 10:10 p.m. we parked the SUV and started to walk through the city, turning on every alleyway to walk slowly. At first this test was as boring as any of the others. We wandered down the same roads for around an hour. By now the sun had set and we were getting tired. On the way back to the truck we were walking in an alleyway when a cop stopped us. “Do you kids know that walking in an alley is illegal here in Minneapolis?” the cop said. Then he told us that we would have pay the hefty fine of $10,000,000,000 per person. Astounded, we simply nodded and then ran back to the car and drove home.

The Zephyrus team is now in a boatload of debt, and would consequently not recommend this experience for anyone. Most of the laws that we tested were not followed by the general public, but our team agrees that testing any law is not the brightest idea.