Senate panel advances bill creating official Indiana insect

Indiana is one step closer toward getting an official state insect.

Posted: Jan. 31, 2018 3:42 PM
Updated: Jan. 31, 2018 3:43 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — West Lafayette students are celebrating after the State Firely Bill unanimously passed through a Senate committee Wednesday afternoon.

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For four years, students at Cumberland Elementary have been working to make the Say's Firefly Indiana's official insect.

The measure was endorsed Wednesday on a 10-0 vote by the state Senate's Public Policy Committee. All expressing how impressed they were with the students and their presentation.

Students from Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette have campaigned for several years to have the bug recognized. This year Gov. Eric Holcomb took on their cause and made it part of his legislative agenda.

Kayla Xu, a Cumberland Elementary student at the time, was the first to propose the idea in 2015. She asked her second-grade teacher why Indiana didn't have a state insect and wanted to know how to make it happen.

Since then, Cumberland Elementary students have worked relentlessly to study and lobby this legislation but today was the first time the bill was heard by a committee.

Kayla is now in 5th Grade at Happy Hollow Elementary and led the presentation today.

She says she's excited it passed through committee but she's being realistic about it passing through the rest of the Senate and House this session.

The insect was named by entomologist Thomas Say in 1826 while he lived in the southwestern Indiana town of New Harmony.

The pupils have argued that the lightning bug best represents Indiana because of its agricultural benefits and place in American history.

The bill is on Governor Eric Holcomb's 2018 Agenda and has support from the Indiana Department of Education. Senator Ron Alting wrote the bill and House Representatives Sally Siegrist and Sheila Klinker are on board as well.

The firefly bill will now go to second reading on the Senate floor.

Alting says he's guessing next Tuesday it will come to a vote in the Senate and if approved, it will head to the House.

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