Passing a law's not cool. You know what's cool? Repealing a law.
The Concord Monitor reports New Hampshire legislators are trying to save face after disparaging a law proposed by a group of fourth graders earlier in the year with a contest to repeal the state's "dumbest" law. The winner of the competition was a regulation against nighttime seaweed-gathering.
Last March, legislators publicly mocked a law proposed by a class of fourth graders from Lincoln Ackerman School in Hampton Falls, N.H., to name the red-tailed hawk as the state's official raptor. The students were in the gallery watching at the time.
One of the lawmakers infamously compared the hawk attacking its prey to Planned Parenthood in the kind of charged rhetoric that seems particularly awful after last weekend's shooting in Colorado Springs.
"It grasps them with its talons and then uses its razor-sharp beak to rip its victims to shreds, to basically tear it apart limb by limb, and I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood," Rep. Warren Groen, R-Rochester, said.
The remarks grew in infamy to the point where HBO news satire program Last Week Tonight dedicated a segment to criticizing the legislators and supporting the fourth graders who proposed the law.
Trying to regroup from the bad publicity, state lawmakers still found they hated new laws so much they couldn't stomach adding another one to the books, even if it was a harmless one written by children. But if the kids were able to find a law to take off the books…well, that would be just about the most "live free or die" thing possible!
And that's how the New Hampshire's Dumbest Law competition was born. It would be a competition for schoolchildren to find a law for legislators to destroy in a kind of reverse legal Hunger Games.
The winner was an ordinance banning anyone from harvesting seaweed after dark, found by Newport Middle High School. The law dates back to the 1973, and was apparently enacted to level the playing field among farmers trying to hoard seaweed to use as fertilizer. It adds the following section to the state code.
207:48 In Night. – If any person shall carry away or collect for the purpose of carrying away any seaweed or rockweed from the seashore below high-water mark, between daylight in the evening and daylight in the morning, he shall be guilty of a violation
Seems useless enough. Hopefully the winning kids get to travel to Concord for the ritual slaughter and devouring of the law's remains.