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House Reps discuss why they voted “no” on State firefly bill

WLFI talks to two of the House representatives who opposed the Say's firefly bill

Posted: Feb. 28, 2018 4:30 PM
Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 7:08 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, (WLFI) — The Say's Firefly bill is headed to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's desk for approval. The bill passed unanimously through the Indiana Senate but there were three Republican Representatives in the House who voted no.

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News 18's Kayla Sullivan tried tracking those lawmakers down at the Statehouse to find out why they voted against the bill.

"It was somewhat personal to me," said Representative John Young. "I started doing research into it. In my 30 plus years of collecting insects, I have never found a Say's Firefly, at least where I live."

Young, as a self-proclaimed amateur entomologist who represents Indiana's District 47, said Say's Firefly is only located in certain areas of Indiana.

"Say's Firefly is I believe is really restricted to the Southern and Central Counties of Indiana I'm not sure if it's that predominant in Northern Indiana," said Young. He also says the Say's firefly species is difficult to identify.

"I didn't want people going out and finding say Pyractomena Pennsylvanicus OK versus Pyractomena angulata thinking it was the state insect," said Young.

A second representative who voted against the bill was 18th District Representative David Wolkins. He isn't quite as passionate about the topic. In fact, he's not big on state insects, flowers or any designated symbol.

"I've never really voted for it in the past so I decided to be consistent and not vote for it," said Wolkins

Both Young and Wolkins agree it was a great educational opportunity for the students but they would have liked to have seen this opened up to all classrooms in Indiana.

"Could have made it a competition," said Young

Wolkins said, "Simply made it a class exercise across the board."

That could still happen. Indiana symbols don't have to be final. According to Young, the state flower has been changed four times.

Just because they voted no, doesn't mean they don't encourage more students to get involved in the legislative process.

There was a third no vote in the House, State Representative Milo Smith. He declined to comment on why he chose to vote against the Say's Firefly.

The governor still has to sign the bill before it becomes the official state insect.

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