They made a valiant effort, but New Hampshire lawmakers ultimately fell short this year in their apparent determination to achieve notoriety as the nation’s worst state legislature.
In a scientific survey, Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy concludes lawmakers in Tennessee (who made it illegal to discuss sexual activity during sex education instruction) and Oklahoma (who sought to criminalize the use of human fetuses in food products) surpassed the Granite State in crazy this year.
Here’s Murphy’s look back at the year in Concord that earned our Republican-dominated legislature the bronze medal for crazy:
Comedy Central’s Ilya Gerner described the state House of Representatives as “a bunch of part-time real-estate agents throwing monkey feces at a wall.” But that’s not entirely fair to the 400 members of the English-speaking world’s third-largest democratic body—some of them are lawyers too. In January, three Republican representatives introduced legislation mandating that all new legislation “include a direct quote from the Magna Carta.” The Senate has its moments, too. Later that month, the upper chamber overrode a veto of a bill that allowed parents to object to any part of a curriculum—say, biology or European history. In January, lawmakers considered a bill to make it harder for police officers to make arrests for spousal abuse, and a bill to strip state courts of their powers of judicial review.
Moment of Truth: After the state passed a bill allowing lawmakers to carry concealed weapons in the statehouse, GOP state Rep. Kyle Tasker dropped his gun on the floor of the Capitol during a hearing of the—not making this up—public safety committee. “All I could think was, yup, that was bound to happen one of these days,” he said later.