Monday will be Salamander Day at the Statehouse

Ilah Hickman will get her audience with the House State Affairs Committee Monday morning.

Ilah Hickman
Ilah Hickman

The committee will hold a hearing at 9 a.m. to consider the Boise eighth-grader’s bill to declare the Idaho giant salamander the state’s amphibian.

The committee voted Tuesday to print — or introduce — Hickman’s salamander bill.

Last year, the Les Bois Junior High School student got her bill through the Senate, but did not get a hearing in House State Affairs.

Here’s a news release, from state Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking and Rep. Ilana Rubel, both D-Boise:

After several years of diligent work, eighth-grade student Ilah Hickman will present her bill to make the Idaho giant salamander our new state amphibian. Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, and Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, are proud to co-sponsor this bill. A hearing is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 19, at 9 a.m. in the House State Affairs Committee.

“This is an example of what we want for Idaho’s children,” said Ward-Engelking. “We want them involved in science, technology, English and math. Ilah Hickman has become an active participant in her education and has moved to the point where she is now a role-model for other young students.”

Ward-Engelking noted that a fourth-grade class in Sandpoint is now involved in Ilah’s project to declare this salamander that is almost exclusive to Idaho as the state amphibian.

“My children are around Ilah’s age and she is a great example for them,” Rubel said. “I believe that she is doing exactly what our young people should be doing: she is being an active, engaged citizen of Idaho.”

Both Ward-Engelking and Rubel said that Ilah’s commitment to this issue — as well as the support and commitment of her mother Lori Hickman — is something that the Legislature should honor. While the talk of the 2015 legislative session is “investment in education,” that should not be a discussion that is solely about funding. Investing in education also means honoring parents and students and listening to them when they speak.

Thank you to our co-sponsors Rep. Pat McDonald, R-Boise, and Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa.

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