Sen. Alting is carrying SB 236 which would designate the Say’s Firefly as Indiana’s state insect. I talked about this back in 2016 in a post entitled “Fireflies, Pie, and Process.” Back then, it got as far as an informal committee hearing in the House but no formal vote. Today, it received a formal hearing passed out of the Senate Committee on Public Policy with a unanimous vote. This one is of particular interest to me because it’s local. It has been a project of West Lafayette elementary students.
All reports are that the kids and supporters did a great job in front of the committee.
“I’ve been here 20 years and never seen a presentation like today,” said Alting.
Based off facts and a lot of heart, Sen. Alting said the kids knocked it out of the park.
Tony Cook, reporter for the Indianapolis Star, tweeted
Watching one of the most impressive displays of legislative lobbying power I’ve ever seen: 10-year-old West Lafayette student is killing it advocating for Says Firefly to become Indiana’s official insect. https://t.co/sLE62LL3nT
— Tony Cook (@indystartony) January 31, 2018
The wind would seem to be at the students’ back. The Department of Education and Governor Holcomb are supporting the initiative. For the moment, they seem to have overcome a legislative environment where legislators felt they’d received blow back from their involvement in naming a state pie (but not, apparently, a state rifle). Back in 2016, I wrote:
Ultimately, however, the process for the students has more value than the actual passage of legislation getting the firefly named as state insect. Ms. Samudio’s response “there is always next year,” is definitely part of the process. For example, we have Daylight Saving Time because its enthusiasts ground away year after year until they were able to pass the law by the barest of margins. Also part of the process is realizing that the merit of your cause is not the only factor — there’s also the context in which legislators are operating. In this case, part of that context was having blow back from the sugar pie efforts some years earlier.
This isn’t going to change the world. But the kids make a good case. Most other states have a state insect. And, if we’re going to have one, Say’s Firefly is a good pick. Thomas Say was an early American entomologist who lived in New Harmony, Indiana in the early 19th century. And those of us who grew up in Indiana can certainly appreciate how much a part of summer those fireflies are.
So, good job by the West Lafayette kids. Hope they can keep this initiative moving.