NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

5 Oklahoma laws you might not know about

Advertisement
Thinkstockphotos.com/Photo illustration
Thinkstockphotos.com/Photo illustration

Do you like wearing a hoodie in public and live in or plan to visit Oklahoma? Then I hope you have deep pockets because, if a proposed bill passes, you could be fined up to $500 for doing so.

And that has a lot of people talking, mostly in sarcastic, angry and “oy vey” tones.

We’ll see what comes of the bill but, for now, check out 5 Oklahoma laws you might not have known about.


No. 5 – Blue laws

Photo by Jaconna Aguirre / The Oklahoman
Photo by Jaconna Aguirre / The Oklahoman

There was once a time in Oklahoma when stores couldn’t sell washing machines, and kitchenware like pots and pans on Sundays.


Known as “blue laws,” “Sunday legislation,” “Sunday closing laws” or “Sunday statutes,” these laws were developed to prohibit the breaking of the Sabbath.

Apparently these laws were also taken super seriously by Tulsa officials because, in 1931, owners of grocery stores, movie theaters gas stations and more were prosecuted for breaking them.

Of course, times and ideals changed, and thank God for that. Sometimes you just need to buy a washing machine on a Sunday!

But not all blue laws are off the books in Oklahoma: We whiskey lovers still can’t buy the stuff on Sundays, which is a crying shame.


No. 4 – About our state vegetable…

Photo by David McDaniel / The Oklahoman
Photo by David McDaniel / The Oklahoman

You might not know this, but Oklahoma’s state vegetable is the watermelon.

Yeah, that thing you thought was a fruit is actually a vegetable, and not just because Oklahoma legislatures deemed it so: It’s science!

In 2007, Oklahoma Legislatures voted in watermelon as the state vegetable, and it was made possible by former Rep. Joe Dorman.

Dorman represented Rush Springs, where they grow a lot of watermelon. And, to honor His Watermelon-ess, the folks at Buy For Less created this video to show how to make Joe Dorman Watermelon Gazpacho:


No. 3 – The scarlet letter

Thinkstockphotos.com
Thinkstockphotos.com

You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know that adultery is illegal in quite a few states, including Oklahoma. Here, it’s considered a felony and punishable by up to five years in state prison and/or a $500 fine.

It’s really just the lingering puritan influence, and it’s rarely — if ever — enforced, probably because prosecutors don’t want to touch that with a 10-foot pole.

So, rest easy, cheaters: The law ain’t coming for you.


No. 2 – Like a sailor


I believe things like swearing have a time and a place — you have to know the company you’re in before you let loose.

Oklahoma thinks so, too, but to a much higher degree:

If any person shall utter or speak any obscene or lascivious language or word in any public place, or in the presence of females, or in the presence of children under ten (10) years of age, he shall be liable to a fine of not more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) days, or both.

That’s straight from the horse’s mouth.

I’m not sure how enforced this is, but thank goodness it isn’t, because could you imagine how many arrests there’d be during football season?


No. 1 – Bear rasslin’

Photo by KT King / The Oklahoman
Photo by KT King / The Oklahoman

You read that right: Wrestling bears is illegal in the great state of Oklahoma.

It sounds hilarious, but the law was created for a serious purpose: Bear wrestling used to be popular pastime at bars that littered the Sun Belt (southern part of the United States), including here in Oklahoma. Handlers would show up at the bar with a bear and some (probably) drunk, “macho” guy at the bar would wrestle it.

Word is, most of the time, the bears would be drugged, and even declawed and defanged so it wouldn’t cause harm to the human wrestler.

The law went into effect in 1996 after then-Sen. Lewis Long “agreed to sponsor a bill to halt the practice after viewing a television clip of a bear-wrestling event at a bar in Pawhuska.”


Related Photos
 Thinkstockphotos.com/Photo illustration

Thinkstockphotos.com/Photo illustration

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d9d3f24a8a4e1445eb908d4b3a740336.jpg" alt="Photo - Thinkstockphotos.com/Photo illustration " title=" Thinkstockphotos.com/Photo illustration "><figcaption> Thinkstockphotos.com/Photo illustration </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-36318fa689939b3a593fe430e86f2aac.jpg" alt="Photo - Photo by KT King / The Oklahoman " title=" Photo by KT King / The Oklahoman "><figcaption> Photo by KT King / The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e44fcf0186f3861f7b1210509744d02e.jpg" alt="Photo - Photo by Jaconna Aguirre / The Oklahoman " title=" Photo by Jaconna Aguirre / The Oklahoman "><figcaption> Photo by Jaconna Aguirre / The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0cdd8a87048900a622a6931d92d1f03b.jpg" alt="Photo - Photo by David McDaniel / The Oklahoman " title=" Photo by David McDaniel / The Oklahoman "><figcaption> Photo by David McDaniel / The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c2dea62892fea8c8dd48c1a1dadd7e08.jpg" alt="Photo - Thinkstockphotos.com " title=" Thinkstockphotos.com "><figcaption> Thinkstockphotos.com </figcaption></figure>
Richard Hall

Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Read more ›

Comments