by Brendan Smith
Weirs Times Editor
Perhaps you’ve read of the latest kerfuffle at the New Hampshire State House.
Some feel a group of fourth graders were subjected to an inappropriate display of how a bill becomes law.
The students had worked hard at getting the Red Tailed Hawk named as the state raptor. Their bill passed committee and then came to the floor of the house for a vote while the fourth graders waited anxiously in the gallery.
From the way people are talking about it you might think they expected civil discussion, bipartisan back rubs, kind words, tea and crumpet roundtable interventions and champagne toasts all around once the bill became law. Instead they were treated to discourse and angry words against the bill, there was representatives from both parties who argued against it and even one who used it as an analogy for something else that some found inappropriate. There were no tea and crumpets, never mind the champagne. Just another day in the State House. The bill was defeated.
As it is with most things nowadays, people who like to spend their days on the Internet commenting on stuff they don’t like, were commenting on it.
Some wondered how in the world are kids ever going to learn how government works if they have to be subjected to such things and that apologies must be given. (Maybe it could have been used as a good teaching moment for what an analogy is, but that’s only the way my mind works.)
The state raptor thing is just one in a long line of declaring something or other the state something or other and it seemed like, according to the way the day went, that legislators are getting a little tired of it and maybe they have a good point when it comes to the time it takes and the money it costs to introduce bills.
Still, I don’t feel we can really give up on designating things to represent our state. After all, that is what confused the NH Department of Travel and Tourism (DTT) a few years back when they spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to have someone in Florida figure out what thing defined New Hampshire best and they still couldn’t come up with an answer.
I often feel that is why students keep suggesting bills to help name things state things; maybe they are just feeling lost and confused. After all, if the DTT can’t, who can?
On the other hand, the legislature is finding themselves presented with these bills which often get in the way of more important ones, like what people should not be allowed to do while stuck in their cars in a traffic jam.
So, to make it easier for all, I am suggesting a “State Something Day” at the State House. It is this day when all of these naming something state somethings will be resolved.
It would be a fun day at the State House, like a casual Friday at the office. Jeans and shorts and even clean T-shirts would be allowed to be worn. Let’s invite the Senate over too; some of them might come even if there isn’t a casino bill.
Over the course of a few months, school children would be encouraged to send in ideas for things that should be designated state something or others. Then all of the ideas would be collected. Heck, they don’t even have to go through committees.
There will be a buffet set up in the hall and legislators can even sit wherever they want. The gallery would be filled with kids who were picked by lottery and the rest could watch on closed-circuit television in their classrooms.
Then the Speaker of the House will take the list of suggestions and read them off. Of course, they will have been sorted out by category first so that all ideas about something or other will all be voted on at once.
It will be a simple “nay” or “yay” vote and whichever one gets the most votes officially becomes that state something or other.
This way we can not only figure out in one day what the state raptor, fossil and organic fruit would be, but a whole slew of other things as well that never would have had their day in the sun. (After all, one legislator did suggest the state hot dog and even though he seemed to say it sarcastically, some pundit psychologists on TV claimed it was really a deep-seated subconscious desire.)
Of course, no matter what, there will still be debates; it is just the nature of the legislative beast. I can’t see things like what will be the official state toilet paper making it through unscathed. Legislators with septic systems and those on public sewers will most likely force a lively debate between the selection of one-ply or two. (I’m sure there’ll be many giggles from the gallery on this one.)
Anyone saying anything considered inappropriate will be fined $50. (Unfortunately, inappropriate will have to de defined by committee.)
After the day is over, the voting is done and the buffet emptied, many things will now be state something or others and there will be no more brought up during the rest of the legislative session.
This should satisfy many people on both sides of this sensitive issue and the kids will be happy and hopefully no feelings will be hurt too badly if their idea for a state something didn’t win.
There might have to be some kind of consolation prize, maybe a certificate that they tried. Heck, why not ribbons for the legislators who come in that day. Everyone makes the team.
Who knows, this idea just might catch on.