Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Unruly Law -- Georgia's Green Tree Frog

As you know, I am a stickler for the rule of law. I know that you think there are some important legislative issues out there. Congress has passed a bill directed at the Terri Schiavo tragedy and is considering Social Security reform. Georgia has issues of its own, trying to balance a budget and reform tort law as we know it. But all of that is small potatoes, with a little garlic, compared to a bill just passed in Georgia.

I recently learned, however, that there is bill pending in the Georgia legislature trying to make the Green Tree Frog the State Amphibian. The bill has passed and house and senate, and just awaits Gov. Sonny Purdue's signature.

The first thing I wondered was why we never had such a designation before. We do, after all, have a state side dish (grits), vegetable (Vidalia sweet onion) and crop (peanut). And I think grits and a baked vidalia onion would go great with frog legs in a peanut sauce.

So, why no state amphibian before? The article answers that question.
In fall 2002, a fourth-grade class, jointly taught by Ruth Pinson and
Marilyn McLean, realized while studying government and science that Georgia
could not claim an official amphibian. The class drew up the bill, and several
lawmakers from their area worked for its passage.

The bill foundered in past years, when the Legislature was divided
between a Democratic House and Republican Senate.
Apparently, it was a partisan issue. Since Georgia is now all Republican, and the bill passed, I must assume that it was the Democrats that stopped this bill in 2002-2004. Why? Do Green Tree Frogs tend to vote Republican? Did they jump in the lap of a famous Democrat one time and embarrass him?

And what about this "amphibian" label. Do we really trust a bunch of fourth graders to know that this frog is amphibious? If it lives in a tree, that would kind of cut against the water aspect of this frog, now wouldn't it.

I think this needs to go back to committee.


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