In Nevada, fixed by law, there’s an official state seal, and a state flag.
There’s also an official state artifact (the Tule Duck Decoy). A state bird (the Mountain Bluebird). A state animal (the Desert Bighorn Sheep).
State colors? Silver and blue. A state fish? The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. A state flower? The sagebrush. (Yeah, I know, but who really cares?)
The Nevada Revised Statutes also specify a state fossil (the Ichthyosaur), state gemstones, both precious (the Virgin Valley Black Fire Opal) and semi-precious (Nevada turquoise), a state insect (the Vivid Dancer Damselfly), a state metal (silver, duh), a state reptile (the Desert Tortoise), a state rock (sandstone), state soil (Orovada soils), a state tree (the single-leaf pinion) and a state tartan.
There’s even a state grass on the law books (Indian ricegrass). And no, that’s not a variety of medical marijuana. In fact, nothwithstanding the fact that voters demanded state backing for medical marijuana distribution 13 years ago, that’s one of the many real problems lawmakers haven’t addressed while spending time selecting an official state locomotive.)
So, it should probably come as no surprise that lawmakers in Carson City have solved every imaginable problem and are now wrapping up the 2013 session early by designating a state dog. No, really, state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer and Assemblyman Randy Kirner want the Blue Weimaraner to be the Official State Dog of Nevada.
(Both men are Republicans from Reno, by the way. Remember that the next time you complain about Democrats always being the ones to waste government time and resources.)
It’s not that the Blue Weimaraner doesn’t deserve to be the state dog. I’m sure they’re really nice. It’s just that now somebody will want a state cat. Or a state deer. Or a state bear (have we killed all the black bears, yet)? Or a state rodent. The list (probably will) go on and on.
It wouldn’t be so bad if each and every one of these designations didn’t have to be drawn up as an actual bill, be introduced along with such trivial-by-comparison measures as funding the state’s education system, figuring out the tax structure, preventing child sex trafficking and clean energy goals. There will be a hearing on the state dog. And recorded votes. And a bill, sent to the governor, who will probably not send it back with a veto message scrawled in his own hand, “Are you f—– kidding me right now?”
Some will argue that the time spent is de minimus (Latin for who gives an Official State Rodent’s Ass). They will say that the Legislature can walk and play Angry Birds at the same time. (Oh, wait, there’s a bill to ban texting while walking across the street in this session, isn’t there?)
My simple point is, do we really need a state dog? And won’t the lovers of other kinds of dogs object? And won’t we be debating that when we should be debating real things, like making sure kids can read, so they can do well in college, so they can get good jobs, so they can have good careers, so they can maybe one day get elected to office and introduce a bill to designate the Official State Typeface? (And it better damn well be Trajan Pro Bold! That’s regal enough to say “Nevada”!)
That’s all I’m saying.