Thank Heaven We Have a Full-Time Legislature

Vitally important job of picking official state frog

While pondering all of the reasons the state House should not have approved a $195 million partial bailout of the Motor City Thursday, I couldn't help but think aloud (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) what a blessing it is to have a full-time, highly paid Legislature.

How else might Lansing politicians have the time to both confiscate more taxpayer wealth to reward bad behavior and determine — with the wisdom of Solomon — which Michigan frog should be the state's "official" amphibian.

House Bill 5577, introduced May 14 by Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, would declare in statute that the "Northern Spring Peeper" frog (also known by "Pseudacris crucifer") — and no other frog — be the official state amphibian of Michigan. Reps. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, and Pat Somerville, R-New Boston, however, found time to disagree. Read about their bills here and here.

Moreover, the debate over which amphibian best symbolizes Michigan is a decade-old conflict.

This is not the first time Michigan's august, deliberative body has declared or tried to declare some trivial thing the official this or that. It is like King Canute trying to command waves not to splash but without the learning of a valuable lesson.

There have been discussions in Lansing over official Scottish tartans (check out the video below), the official cherry of Michigan and — one of my personal favorites — that Iosco County — and no other Michigan county — should be declared the official birding capital of Michigan.

Watch the Tartan testimony here for an example of Lansing'excess.

Let's not also forget last year's resolution for "Talk Like a Pirate Day" introduced by Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township.

That resolution prompted Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, to chide its sponsor, saying, "I would like to thank the senator from the 32nd District for making the most compelling argument that he could for a part-time legislature."

Even when they tackle the big policy issues, Lansing pols frequently make bad choices that hurt more than help. When they are not busy frittering away our tax dollars they fritter away their time on useless debates of officialdom.