CBS4 explores some of the strangest laws in Texas history

Did you know that in the city of Lefors, Texas, it's illegal to drink more than three sips of beer while standing?

Or that there was a time when rodeos were illegal in the state?

It's also legal in Texas to attempt to control the weather. (But you need a license and are required to publish plans in the local newspaper for three straight weeks.)

The list goes on and on. Where did all these strange laws come from?

Our search for answers took us to the home of two local historians.

"People get caught up in the emotion of the time, and what makes sense today may not make sense tomorrow," said Bernie Sargent.

Sargent is the former chair of the El Paso County Historical Commission and his wife Melissa is a host on the "El Paso History Radio Show."

"Politics has always been kind of a strange bedfellow, when you get down to it," said Melissa Sargent.

Cowboys and Texas seem like two old friends, so why were rodeos once illegal?

Melissa Sargent said it was one of the first laws to protect animals. Some lawmakers felt it was cruel and unusual punishment. But she said El Paso was also very well known for its rodeo.

"So rather than to give up on the rodeo, they went to Juarez and they built the cowboy arena and they continued to rodeo in Mexico," she said. "That law only lasted a couple (of) years and they came back to El Paso."

Here’s another colorful piece of history: El Paso once funded infrastructure through prostitution.

"One of the ways to pay for the streets was to fine the prostitutes," Melissa Sargent said. "They also paid for our police force using the money from the prostitutes, which I think is kind of ironic."

Bernie Sargent said laws against prostitution took a while to stick.

"When they pushed prostitution across the border, then all that tax money ceased," Bernie Sargent said. "They went, 'Wait a minute, we can't afford the police now, we can't afford street improvements now, we have to find a way to legally bring them back,' and they did for a period of time."

"We were known as the little Monte Carlo because we had all the gambling. We had the prostitution. All these wonderful things a boom town would have in those days," Melissa Sargent said.

Strange laws aren't unique to Texas. For example, in Kentucky, people are required to take a shower at least once a year.

"A lot of time you look back in history and a lot of the laws came from personal issues. Somebody was either trying to benefit or get even with someone else," said Melissa Sargent.

Some of the strange laws throughout history have been updated, but others still haven't been removed. We discovered that it's a lot easier to make a law than repeal it.

"Yes, that's so true," Melissa Sargent said. "You see that in everything today. It's amazing."

Texas legislators are in midst of the current legislative session. The future can judge how strange some of their laws seem.

What are some of the strangest laws that you've heard about? Let us know in the comments section.

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