The new year usually means the official enactment of new state and local laws. In Missouri the minimum wage rose a whopping 15 cents per hour, from $7.35 to $7.50. Thirteen other states also increased their minimum wage.

Doctors in Missouri, screening babies for congenital heart disease, must now conduct at least 79 screenings, and a new law to replenish Missouri’s second-injury fund for those with work-related injuries also went into effect.

These are sensible new laws, and yet other seemingly comical laws are still on the books in Missouri and others gleaned from the files of and

• Kansas City minors are not allowed to purchase cap pistols but may buy shotguns. Also, bathtubs with four legs resembling animal paws are prohibited.

• In Blue Springs, you have to be 8 years old or 80 pounds to not have a car seat.

• In Buckner, yard waste may be burned any day except Sunday.

• You cannot sit on the curb of any city street in St. Louis and drink beer from a bucket.

• Natchez, Mo., has a law prohibiting giving beer or other intoxicants to elephants.

• In Derby, Kan., hitting a vending machine that stole your money is illegal. You can’t spit on the street in Dodge City, and all cars entering the city limits of Lawrence must first sound their horn to warn horses of their arrival and you are not allowed to wear a bee in your hat.

• In Topeka you are not allowed to sing the alphabet on the streets at night, and it is illegal to fish bare-handed anywhere in the state.

• Elsewhere across the country we find that in California you will be fined $500 if you detonate a nuclear device in a city.

• You are not allowed to pump your own gas in Grants Pass, Ore., and don’t walk down any street in Louisville, Ky., with an ice cream cone in your back pocket.

• In West Virginia if someone steals another man’s horse, the owner can hang the accused from the nearest tree.

• And if you are in Alaska, you are forbidden to awaken a sleeping bear for a photo opportunity.

The list goes on, and so does lack of common sense.

I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.

Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at Reach him at