Students at Newport Middle High School have won a contest that challenged them to find "New Hampshire's Dumbest Law."
The Concord Monitor reports that a group of state representatives asked students to nominate seemingly senseless laws that should be repealed. After hearing from about two dozen schools, the group chose Newport, which uncovered a 40-year-old ban on harvesting seaweed at night.
Republican Rep. Max Abramson, who has filed a bill to repeal the law, says he doesn't know why it's on the books.
"Why does no other state have it?" he said. "Why only at nighttime?
According to the Hampton Library website, farmers used to haul seaweed from beaches to use as fertilizer on corn fields. In the 1700s, a town ordinance banned the practice at night, "perhaps to give everyone an equal chance to harvest it," the library website states.
Abramson said he and others were inspired to create the contest after efforts by fourth-graders to name the red-tailed hawk the official state raptor drew ridicule from House lawmakers, with one member likening the hawk's hunting methods to abortion and others saying the bill was a waste of precious time.
"Instead of adding all these different bills, we thought why not have a contest to repeal some outdated laws in the books?" he said. "That turned into the 'New Hampshire's Dumbest Law contest.'"