It is illegal not to smile in public

In 1948, the Mayor of the City of Pocatello, George Phillips, passed an ordinance making it illegal not to smile in Pocatello. The “Smile Ordinance” was passed tongue in cheek as a result of an exceptionally severe winter, which had dampened the spirit of city employees and citizens alike.

The ordinance unintentionally remained on the books and was discovered by staff and later by a local reporter who wrote an article appearing in 1987 in the Idaho State Journal. The American Bankers Association chose our outdated ordinance to use in their national advertising campaign, emphasizing the theme of outdated laws to convince the United States Congress to modernize banking laws.