Friday, January 25, 2008

Turtle Bill Plods On

The student-inspired bill to designate the Western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) as Colorado's official reptile passed a second reading in the House.

The debate on HB 1017 this morning was a humor-filled affair, with Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, jokingly suggesting that "high altitude" lizards are being treated unfairly.

Rep. Mike May, R-Parker, drew laughter when he suggested that the turtle looks alot like well-known lobbyist and former legislator Steve Durham.

All of the comedy was accompanied by a large photo of the Western painted turtle projected onto the chamber wall.

But not everyone felt like laughing.

Rep. Douglas Bruce, R-Colorado Springs, said the bill amounted to an unnecessary effort to fill the state's "law books with embarrassing trivia."

Half the states now have officially-designated state reptiles. Colorado would be the 26th to provide the recognition.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Cherilyn Peniston, D-Westminster, a former teacher to whom the Adams County school kids who are leading the push on behalf of the turtle turned when they discovered the Centennial State lacks a state reptile.

The House is scheduled to consider HB 1017 on third and final reading Monday, Jan. 28.