OUR OPINIONby Tucson Citizen on Dec. 20, 1997, under Editorial
A new fossil in the Legislature
The Arizona Legislature won’t convene for another month, but consideration of really weighty issues already has started.
Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, plans to introduce a bill making dilophosaurus the official state dinosaur.
For the uninitiated, dilophosaurus was a 20-foot-long meat-eater that hung out in northern Arizona 200 million years ago. It left behind footprints and bones.
Arizona already has a plethora of official symbols. There is an official state reptile, bird, flower, tree, amphibian, fossil, gemstone, mammal and neckware. Can you name them all? (Answers below).
After dilophosaurus stomps through the Capitol, we hope lawmakers have time to discuss issues somewhat more timely.
Money talks for him
And speaking of fossilized ideas, state Rep. Richard Kyle, R-Ahwatukee, has one that should be sent back to the Stone Age.
He wants political candidates to be able to buy their way onto the ballot instead of collecting signatures on nominating petitions.
Kyle points out that many candidates pay professional petition-passers to get signatures. So, he ”reasons,” it makes sense to cut out the middleman and pay the state about $1 for every name that would have been required on petitions.
Let’s try explaining this to Kyle: Petitions are required to show that a candidate has some level of support worthy of a place on the ballot. Selling ballot spots would be the worst kind of perversion.
What would be the next logical step? Do away with elections completely and simply sell offices to the highest bidder?
Smelly spending habits
Some state lawmakers are balking about a $5,000 state appropriation to lease a Hummer for two years to haul around the state’s anti-smoking paraphernalia.
The vehicle is used in the same campaign that dubs smoking to be a ”tumor-causing, teeth-staining, smelly, puking habit.” Money for the campaign – and for the Hummer – comes from a voter-approved tobacco tax earmarked for health and anti-tobacco programs.
One lawmaker called the lease ”an abuse of taxpayer money.” Another objected that the Legislature has no oversight of tobacco tax spending – a provision that was included in the voterapproved initiative.
That means lawmakers are stuck with swallowing whatever smelly, puking spending habits the Arizona health department may develop.
Won’t nab spitters
A Sun City resident wants the Arizona Department of Health Services to cite players who spit in Bank One Ballpark, the new home of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Believe it or not, there is a state law that allows spitters to be fined or jailed. But state health officials say they have better things to do than nab the culprits.
Such as cruising around in their Hummer?
And the answers are:
The official symbols of Arizona are: reptile (ridgenose rattler), bird (cactus wren), flower (saguaro blossom), tree (paloverde), amphibian (Arizona tree frog), fossil (petrified wood), gemstone (turquoise), mammal (ringtail) and neckware (bola tie).
Didn’t know them all? And you call yourself an Arizonan?