Thursday, March 19, 2015

Destroying the dreams of children.

Slate has an article today entitled "New Hampshire Legislators Kill Fourth Graders' Bill, Dreams In Front of Them."  The story concerns how fourth grade students from Hampton Falls, New Hampshire had proposed a bill making the Red Tail Hawk the "State Raptor" for New Hampshire.  The bill apparently sailed out of committee and last week the students attended a session of the New Hampshire House of Representatives where, I assume, the student thought their bill would pass, especially after the representatives gave the kids a round of applause.  But the bill didn't pass.  

Slate suggests that the bill's failure has something to do with one of the bill's opponents being against abortion and marriage equity.  I'm not sure if that is correct or not (although the opponent does make reference to Planner Parenthood, which is an odd thing to do in front of fourth graders).

Lest you think that New Hampshire state representatives are unique in squashing the dreams of kids, I refer you to our posts from April 18 and April 19, 2012, in which we described how the Wisconsin Legislature did a similar thing to eighth grade students from New London, Wisconsin who wanted to make the American Water Spaniel the state dog of Wisconsin.  That happened in 1984, so the killing of legislation proposed by children is a tradition that reaches back at least 31 years.

The Wisconsin story is something of a cautionary tale for the New Hampshire House of Representatives.  The negative press generated by how the Wisconsin Senate had killed the kids billed prompted a backlash that enabled the bill to pass by acclimation the following year. One hopes that the New Hampshire fourth graders will demonstrate similar persistence.

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