by Brendan M. Lynch | September 01, 2004
Controversial and unusual laws are on the books across the United States. Knowing about such legal oddities can prevent misunderstandings as you choose a site for your next event. For instance, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, unrestricted cigarette smoking is still allowed in all restaurants, bars and hotels in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Phoenix and St. Louis. At the other extreme, Mesa, Ariz., bans smoking even in public outdoor areas.
    In South Carolina, it is illegal to serve alcohol from anything but a minibottle (you know, those small airplane servings). And in Utah, liquor laws dictate that bars be called “private clubs,” and would-be patrons must buy a two-week membership for $4 before taking a drink. But don’t wait for happy hour to join: In Utah it’s illegal to have happy hour in a “private club.” Furthermore, due to a 60-year-old law in Salt Lake City, dancing is illegal after 2 a.m. Just last year, Salt Lake City police raided a Lindy Hop when it went past the rug-cutting curfew, citing the organizer of the Utah Lindy Exchange for illegal dancing, a misdemeanor.
    Meanwhile, in neighboring Nevada, state law allows for legal prostitution in counties with a population of less than 400,000 (this excludes Las Vegas), and about 30 brothels operate openly here.
    In at least one instance, however, a widely believed “local law” actually is an urban myth: Hotels in Sioux Falls, S.D., do legally provide king and double beds in their guest rooms not just twin beds separated by a minimum of two feet, as a rampant Internet rumor contends.