LAS 4th graders have more class than N.H. House fools
Posted Mar. 17, 2015 at 2:01 AM
The fourth-graders at Lincoln Akerman School got a crash course on the good and bad of politics Thursday after the House voted on the floor to kill a bill that would make the red-tailed hawk the official state raptor.
Several legislators came up to testify against the House Environment and Agriculture Committee’s recommendation to pass the bill.
They were able to convince the majority of House to go along with “killing it” by a vote of 160-133.
The same House voted that week to name the bobcat New Hampshire’s state wildcat.
While we don’t criticize the final vote — as the reality is that only 1 of four bills make it before both chambers — we do take issue with the comments of several legislators who essentially called this bill a waste of time.
Rep. Christy Bartlett, D-Concord, said the committee “caved” to fourth-graders and that they need to stay focused on “issues of more importance.”
Rep. John Burt, R-Goffstown, mockingly said he was against the bill because he was sent by constituent “Big Chicken.”
“We have a $10 billion budget,” Burt said. “We should be working on that rather than worrying what our next bird is going to be.”
Rep. Warren Groen, R-Rochester, talked about the vicious nature of the red-tailed hawk in dealing with its prey, noting that it basically “tears it apart limb by limb.”
“It would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood,” he said.
We want to congratulate the fourth-graders for their efforts. Second we want to remind our legislators what this was really about. It was a real-world civics lesson and learning how a bill becomes a law is hardly a waste of time.
As Rep. Peter Bixby, D-Dover, said on the floor “being in the process of creating a bill is powerfully educational” and “fostering education in this way is a very worthy use of our time.”
Unfortunately what should have been a positive experience for the LAS students traveling to Concord to see their representatives in action became tainted by some off color remarks.
Instead of debating the merits of the bill, Rep. Groen used the opportunity to inject the abortion debate into the discussion while Rep. Burt warned if they pass the bill they would soon be voting on the “state hot dog.”
The students put a lot of effort into selecting the red-tailed hawk.
“In our opinion, we think that the strongest reason is that both the female and male work together to raise their young,” the students wrote in a letter to state representatives. “This includes, nest building, incubation, and feeding. This united approach to parenting is a great example for New Hampshire families.”
They also noted birds of prey are majestic, inspiring, and deserve to be represented as a state symbol.
“The red-tailed hawk is strong and determined,” the students wrote. “This is an excellent representation for New Hampshire. The red-tailed hawk is highly adaptable. Living in New Hampshire’s changing weather makes New Hampshire citizens adaptable as well.”
Had Groen or Burt countered with facts on why the red-tailed hawk was not worthy as a state symbol and left the comedic attempts at home, there would have been no issue.
But instead as one Hampton Falls parent noted they had to explain to their fourth-grader what Planned Parenthood was and its relation to the red-tailed hawk.
The Lincoln Akerman School fourth-graders got a lesson in New Hampshire civics all right, unfortunately it’s not a lesson that’s likely to inspire them in the future.