Salamander will have to wait till 2015, says Chairman Loertscher

It looks like 13-year-old Ilah Hickman will have to spend a fifth year trying to convince lawmakers that Idaho needs a state amphibian in the person of the Idaho giant salamander.

Though the Senate passed Senate Bill 1271 on a 33-2 vote Feb. 26, a skeptical House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher has been sitting on the bill since and now says it’s too late for a hearing.

Hickman, a seventh-grader at Les Bois Junior High School in Boise, lobbied House Speaker Scott Bedke Wednesday, while she waited to buttonhole Loertscher. Bedke told her he wouldn’t press Loertscher, R-Iona, to schedule the bill.

As chronicled by Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News, Hickman didn’t give up, hanging around the House for two hours until she finally got her meeting with Mr. Chairman.

Loertscher quizzed Hickman on state symbols — flower, bird, raptor — and was suitably impressed. But Corbin reports that while apparently charmed, Loertscher was unmoved on the pertinent policy question.

“(Designating state symbols is) a strange concept to me,” Loertscher told Hickman. “I don’t know why we do this.”

Hickman told Corbin: “If he doesn’t pass it, I will come back next year until they pass it.”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Idaho Politics