Washington May Join 19 Other “Right to Dry” States

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According to the Seattle Times (via the ABA Journal), 19 U.S. states have laws protecting the right to dry clothes by hanging them outside on clotheslines. Many people think that drying clothes this way is a super-neat and environmentally friendly idea, but homeowners associations call it an ugly and dangerous practice, and say laws protecting it represent heavy-handed state interference in homeowners' rights.

Such laws prevent the associations from telling homeowners what to do with their laundry, you see.

According to the report, a Washington legislator considered a clothesline-protection bill after a bunch of high-school students proposed it, but dropped the idea when lobbyists "came to Olympia intent on crushing the idea." In addition to the argument that hanging underpants outdoors is unsightly and lowers property values, which seems like a reasonable argument, the associations also appear to contend that the lines "pose a strangulation hazard," which doesn't, really. I don't think children could reach them. I guess you could strangle yourself on one if you tried, but I'd like to see the statistics on clothesline strangulations, if any, before making a decision.

These things would definitely impair my ability to ride my motorcycle freely through my neighbors' backyards, which I see as my God-given right as an American, so there is that.

Anyway, if you live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, or Wisconsin (according to the Times), your homeowners' association cannot prohibit a clothesline. Otherwise, you're at its mercy. Currently, the voting in the entirely unscientific poll on the Times's website stands at 95% in favor of the clothesline, 1% against, and 4% totally not caring.