Successful Sponsor of Idaho Salamander Bill: 'I've Grown to Appreciate This Critter'

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Idaho Giant Salamander
  • Idaho Giant Salamander
The Idaho House voted Monday to advance a bill that had stalled on previous occasions: a measure to designate the giant salamander as the state amphibian.

14-year-old Ilah Hickman was in the Idaho House gallery Monday as the bill that she had fought for—on numerous occasions—gained support from the House. Lawmakers voted 51 to 17 to pass House Bill 1, sending it to the Idaho Senate for its consideration.

The salamander bill was the very first piece of legislation to surface in the 2015 session of the Idaho legislature, and the House State Affairs Committee had previously voted 10-6 to block the bill. But on March 18, the same committee reversed itself and sent the same bill to the full House with a do-pass recommendation.

"I've grown to appreciate this critter," said Boise Republican Rep. Pat McDonald, who presented the bill to the full House on Monday. "It's good legislation. It doesn't harm anything."

In fact, the bill's passage left McDonald a bit non-plussed. When he was called by House Speaker Scott Bedke to present the next bill on the agenda, McDonald began touting the positive notes on a separate bill. It wasn't until McDonald was well into his presentation that his fellow lawmakers whispered to him that he was arguing for the wrong bill.

"That's OK," said Bedke. "It's not everyday that you get to pass the bill that you did."