Legislature may finally allow speeding horses on bridges

House Rep. Tim Brennan, D-Doylestown, speaks during a recent legislative hearing.

Commonwealth residents may soon be able to carry fire over a wooden bridge – if they can find one.

House Bill 1543 was unanimously approved earlier this month by the state House of Representatives and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill repeals legislation passed in 1836 that remains on the books.

“Do you remember the Alamo?” House Rep. Tim Brennan, D-Doylestown, wrote in his co-sponsorship memorandum for the legislation. “That was in 1836, a time before electricity, telegrams, phonograms and toilet paper. It was the same year Pennsylvania made it illegal to carry fire over a wooden bridge and to take a horse or any cattle over a wooden bridge at a pace faster than a walk. To this day, each of these offenses carries with it a fine of a whopping five dollars.”

There are more quirky Pennsylvania laws Brennan could examine, according to recent published reports.

A 2022 City & State story by Harrison Conn noted several other old laws that are still on the books in Pennsylvania.


They include a ban on bartering children and fortune telling for profit. It remains against the commonwealth’s hunting and furtaking regulations to hunt an animal when it’s swimming.

Television station WHTM rounded up more such laws, such as a state ordinance that is supposed to prevent people from sweeping dirt and dust under a rug. In Philadelphia, it’s technically illegal to carry a pretzel in a bag under a Prohibition-era law passed because pretzel bags were being used at the time to hide illegal alcohol.

According to the Bathroom Singing Prohibition Act that was passed in 1969, it is illegal in Pennsylvania to sing in the bathtub.


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