Editorial: Kids keep orca bill alive

Students at Oak Harbor’s Crescent Harbor Elementary School are learning all about the legislative process in their effort to have the orca whale named the state marine mammal.

They started the process last year by writing to local legislators about the idea only to watch the resulting bill die on the House floor. But they learned something of the virtue of patience as the bill resurfaced this year for further consideration. House Bill 1759 passed the House on a 90 to 7 vote March 8 and is going before the Senate for consideration.

The Crescent Harbor students now have some additional lobbying to do, but there’s no reason to expect the Senate will not support the bill. Who could oppose naming the orca whale as the state’s official marine mammal? Its competition seems limited — otters or seals, perhaps — and orcas are a magnificent creature that well symbolize this state’s natural wonders.

Having the orca as our official marine mammal can only help those who are fighting to preserve and protect the state’s somewhat diminishing population of native orcas. Nobody will want to see our state marine mammal disappear.

When the bill passes, some of the Crescent Harbor students and their supportive teachers should be invited to Olympia to watch as the governor signs the bill. It’s not often students can witness history — expecially history that wouldn’t have happened without them.

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