Over the years, cities and states have passed thousands of laws. Some of them are relics of their times which get swept away in legislative housecleaning efforts. Some of them, however, get overlooked. Here are five of Mobile’s silliest laws still on the books:

It’s illegal to dance near hospitals.

7049056607_c464450733_kSorry, new dads — you better not be dancing for joy in Mobile maternity wards. Dancing in or around hospitals in the Port City is strictly forbidden.

“It is declared a nuisance,” reads Section 39-99 of Mobile’s city code, “and is hereby prohibited for any person to conduct or participate in any dance or dancing within the city or its police jurisdiction within such distance from any hospital, sanitarium or infirmary as to annoy or disturb any of the patients or inmates of such hospital, sanitarium or infirmary.”

It’s not clear why Mobile lawmakers chose to adopt a hardline stance on hospital dancing, but more than likely, it was just so hospital-dwellers could get a little peace and quiet.

Mobile also isn’t wild about banana peels and stink bombs.

Mario Kart style antics won't fly in the Port City. (Flickr: brx0/Special to the Pulse)

Mario Kart style antics won’t fly in the Port City. (Flickr: brx0/Special to the Pulse)

It’s safe to say that the city of Mobile isn’t a big fan of zany hijinks. City ordinances make it a crime to toss banana peels on the sidewalk (or any other fruit peel, for that matter). Another section targets stink bombs:

It shall be unlawful to sell, dispose of, give away or use within the city or its police jurisdiction articles known as stink balls or funk balls or anything of like nature, by whatever name known or called, the purpose of which is to create disagreeable odors to the great discomfort of persons coming in contact therewith.

Sorry, pranksters — you’ll have to take your oddball antics elsewhere.

Confetti is banned from parades — and everywhere else, for that matter.

Unlike New Orleans, you won't find confetti at Mobile's Mardi Gras parades. (Brad Coy/Special to the Pulse)

Unlike New Orleans, you won’t find confetti at Mobile’s Mardi Gras parades. (Brad Coy/Special to the Pulse)

Mobile may be known as the birthplace of American Mardi Gras celebrations, but you won’t see any confetti being thrown from parade floats. The tiny paper pieces are banned from the city, with violators facing a hefty $16.00 fine plus court costs.

One’s first thought might be that the city targeted confetti so it wouldn’t have to clean it up, but the Mobile Press-Register reported in 2008 that the ban was in place for citizen safety reasons:

“Apparently, the issue was that they would throw the confetti and it would be inhaled,” [Mobile Police Department spokeswoman Nancy] Johnson said. “It would get into their mouths and windpipes. People would go into distress.”

Boxes of Cracker Jack, once a popular Mardi Gras throw, were also banned for safety reasons in 1972 — paving the way for softer, rounder Moon Pies to become the throw of choice for many floats.

Absolutely no glue sniffing allowed.

Mobile's got zero tolerance for glue-sniffing miscreants. (Paramount Pictures/Special to the Pulse)

Mobile’s got zero tolerance for glue-sniffing miscreants. (Paramount Pictures/Special to the Pulse)

The sniffing or huffing of glue is something Mobile feels pretty strongly about, with an entire article and multiple sections of its city code devoted to the subject.

“It shall be unlawful,” the law reads, “for any person intentionally to smell or inhale the fumes of any type of model glue, or to induce any other person to do so, for the purpose of causing a condition of, or inducing symptoms of, intoxication, elation, euphoria, dizziness, excitement, irrational behavior, exhilaration, paralysis, stupefaction or dulling of the senses or nervous system, or for the purpose of, in any manner, changing, distorting or disturbing the audio, visual or mental processes.”

The law also bars merchants from selling model glue to minors or from selling customers more than one tube of glue in a 24-hour period.

Special mention: No bear wrestling in Alabama.

Apparently, organized bear fighting was at one time a real problem in Alabama.

Apparently, organized bear fighting was at one time a real problem in Alabama.

Up until recently, the State of Alabama took bear exploitation very seriously, devoting an entire section of their state code to the subject. Alabamians caught promoting or engaging in a bear wrestling match — or training bears to wrestle — risked being slapped with a Class B felony. That’s between two and twenty years in the state pen, folks.

However, this delightful statute was finally repealed last April, along with a litany of other outdated Alabama laws. Don’t worry, though — the move didn’t open the door for the state’s long-dormant bear wrestling industry to rise once again. Other animal cruelty laws remain on the books.


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