Lawful or Just Awful?
Some state and local laws might jar event planners
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
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