(Part VII: Odd Laws in Colorado)
If you do a search on the Internet for strange laws in Colorado, there are a number of sites that rattle off any number of wacky laws. But don't believe everything you read online. Many of the weirdest, most ridiculous, or most outrageous laws you might stumble upon are either misreadings or misinterpretations of a statute or ordinance or are just completely made up.
Here is the truth behind some more of the most popular odd Colorado laws found on the Internet:
Number 7: Are you really not allowed to drive a black rental vehicle on Sundays in Colorado?
No, there is no prohibition from renting or driving any colored car in Colorado on any day of the week. But, since 1957, car dealerships have been closed on Sundays.
Colorado Revised Statute section 44-20-302 (2020) says:
No person, firm, or corporation, whether owner, proprietor, agent, or employee, shall keep open, operate, or assist in keeping open or operating any place or premises or residences, whether open or closed, for the purpose of selling, bartering, or exchanging or offering for sale, barter, or exchange any motor vehicle, whether new, used, or secondhand, on the first day of the week commonly called Sunday.
Anyone who violates this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, and the potential revocation of their motor vehicle dealer's license. C.R.S. § 44-20-303 (2020).
The stated purpose for such Sunday car sales bans is to give workers a day off. Because car sales employees tend to work long hours, having Sundays off is a way to ensure they get a break and have time to spend with their families.
However, this Sunday ban specifically does not apply to businesses that repair cars, or that sell motor vehicle parts, or that buy, sell, or trade boats, snowmobiles, or motor vehicle trailers… so, does the state legislature think those employees just don't work as hard? Or that they want less time with their families?
Number 8: In Fountain and Pueblo, is it really illegal to allow dandelions or weeds to grow in your yard?
Both Fountain and Pueblo have specific ordinances proscribing the length weeds are allowed to grow. But those two towns are not alone. By law, every municipality in the state of Colorado has some regulation for the maintenance and removal of "noxious weeds." C.R.S. § 35-5.5-106(1).
In Fountain, Title 8, Section 8.04.030 of its municipal code makes it unlawful for the owner or the occupant of "any parcel of land in the city" to allow weeds or "any unsightly, useless, troublesome, herbaceous plants" to grow "over nine inches."
In Pueblo, Section 7-4-2 of its municipal code makes it unlawful "to permit weeds" to grow "in excess of ten (10) inches in height," and requires landowners to "cut, destroy or remove from such land all weeds" if they get too tall.
In addition to dandelions, Pueblo also considers a "weed" to be:
bindweed (Convolvulus), leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula), Canada thistle (Cirsium Arvense), Russian knapweed (Centaurea pieris), diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa), Russian knapweed (Centaurea repens), spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), perennial sowthistle (Sonchus arvense), puncture vine (Tribulus terrestris), silverleaf poverty weed (Franseria discolor), mouse-ear poverty weed (Iva axillaris), fanweed (Thlaspi arvense), mustard (Brassiea), purple-flowered ground-cherry (Quincula lobata), Russian thistle (Salsola pestifer), fireweed (Kochia scoparia), redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), sandbur (Cenchrus tribuloides), hairy stickweed (Lappula Occidentalis), buffaloburs (Solanum rostvatum), common ragweed (Ambrosia elatiov), cocklebur (Xanthium commurie), common sunflower (Helianthus centicularis), dandelion (Leontodore taraxacum) or other plant or offending vegetation which is regarded as a common nuisance.
Throughout the rest of the state, however, a "weed" is simply "any undesirable plant." C.R.S. § 35-5.5-103(21).
Number 9: Are Louisville residents really allowed to own as many as three turkeys, but absolutely no chickens?
According to Louisville's municipal code, Section 6.16.020(B), residents are allowed to keep no more than three "ducks, geese, or turkeys" within the city limits. But, residents are also allowed to keep up to six "hens," or female chickens, so long as they're properly housed in a backyard coop and fenced inside a proscribed chicken run. Section 6.20.020.
The same cannot be said of male chickens, though, as "roosters" are specifically prohibited. Section 6.20.020(3).
Have you heard about any other weird laws in Colorado, or in other states? Keep an eye on our Colorado Law Blog for more odd law explanations and myth-busting!