Les Bois junior high school student Ilah Hickman asked the Senate State Affairs Committee to print a bill that would make the Idaho Giant Salamander the state’s official amphibian. She is supported in her efforts by former Boise teacher and now State Senator Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise).
This marks the third straight year that Hickman has brought this issue to the legislature. Hickman told committee members that what started out as a fourth grade assignment to write a mock letter to legislators proposing a new state symbol became a real life exercise for her.
In 2012,she worked to get a draft of the bill written, but she was unable to get it printed. In 2013, her bill was printed but she did not get a hearing. Undeterred, Hickman returned to the capitol on Friday, unwavering in her effort to get her bill introduced and passed. She told committee members that she was following the lead of Sir Winston Churchill by, ‘Never, never, never giv[ing] up.’”
She assured committee members that she’s doing her homework to prepare her case. She has asked her classmates to vote on the issue and she’s started a Facebook page to bring attention to and gain support for her efforts.
The committee voted to introduce the bill with one dissenting vote. Only Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill (R-Rexburg) voted against it.