COMMENTARY | Sometimes laws remain on the books long after their relevance is gone. Other times, the laws once had an important purpose, but are now just annoyances. Here are five laws that are still on the books around Pennsylvania but have outlived their uses.
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Removing Trespassing Livestock
If a Pennsylvania resident finds a farm animal on his or her property, the proper individual to inform is the constable. In Pennsylvania, constables are like police officers, except they have statewide authority to deal with both civil and criminal matters. Constables do not get a public salary, but may be paid with public funds based on the work that is done. Though most constables would not have the first idea of how to herd a cow off someone's property, this law was recently included as part of the consolidation of laws relating to constables in 2009. The next time a PA resident has a cow or sheep take up residence on the lawn, be sure to contact your local constable.
Fireworks Can't be Sold to Pennsylvanians
It is perfectly legal for licensed sellers to sell all different types of consumer fireworks in Pennsylvania. Those who sell the fireworks will need to look closely at the buyer's identification, however, as Pennsylvania residents are not allowed to purchase the more extreme, or even most, fireworks. Those who are Pennsylvania residents can get a permit to put on a fireworks display, but other than that option, residents are generally limited to sparklers and other novelties. There are no limits as to which types of fireworks can be sold by licensed sellers in the state to non-residents, however.
Wine and Liquor Can Only Be Sold in State Stores
Unless you are drinking at a bar or restaurant, if you want to purchase liquor or wine in Pennsylvania, you will need to go to the state store. This arcane little law has become a fact of life for all Pennsylvania residents. Recently, there has been a push to privatize the liquor stores. Though the alcoholic beverages would still not be able to be sold in grocery stores, perhaps there could be a greater variety, selection, or price range at the different stores. Currently, every item is priced the same at each store.
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192-Ounce Limit for Beer
Unless you are purchasing beer from a beer distributor, you will be limited to a purchase of 192 ounces of beer or malt beverages in a single transaction in Harrisburg. Now, 192 ounces is not a small amount. In fact, it is the equivalent of 16 12-ounce bottles. It is still a strange law to have, though. Just recently, some specific grocery stores and gas stations have been allowed to sell a select few beer and malt beverages, which would seem to put Pennsylvania a little behind the times.
No Sunday Car Purchases
There used to be a number of prohibited activities on Sundays. Though most have been repealed by now, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, residents are still not able to purchase a vehicle from a licensed dealer that day. Though residents can likely buy alcoholic beverages on a Sunday, even with the restrictive alcohol laws of the state, they cannot purchase a vehicle.
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