Just in case you don’t think your Massachusetts legislators are a hard working and dedicated bunch of guys and gals, here are a few examples of how serious the members of the House and Senate take their job.
In 1974 the legislature passed a law making the lady bug the official state insect and later that year the members of the House and Seante passed a law making the cod the official state fish. In fact the cod became the “sacred cod” to accent the importance of the fishing industry in the Commonwealth. While they were at it, the legislators name the Morgan horse the official state horse and the cranberry the official state beverage.
Continuing on this path of naming rights and legislative trivia, the legislature in 1979 named the state dog, and you guessed it right – the Boston terrier. At the same time to show its interest in the rocks of Massachusetts, the legislature named rhodonite as the state gem and something called babingtonite as the official state mineral. I don’t have a clue what babingtonite is, except maybe it has something to do with the slang for all that is shiny and excessive, perhaps the derivation of “bling.”
In an attempt to move away from the completely frivolous, the legislators in 1981 recognized Katherine E. Mullen’s poem The Blue Hills of Massachusetts as the official state poem and Arlo Guthries’ Massachusetts as the official state folk song. Like most of us in the state, both the poem and the folk song are complete mysteries.
Later in the 1980s the state got around to naming the official state muffin, that would be the corn muffin and the official state cat, that would be the tabby. Ten years later the legislators named the Wild Turkey, no not the whiskey, as the official state game bird and the navy bean as the official state bean. I guess somebody on Beacon Hill thought that since Boston was bean town, the navy bean had to get special recognition.
More recently, the legislature turned its attention to sweets as they named the Boston Creme Pie as the official dessert, the Boston Creme donut as the official donut and the Chocolate Chip Cookie as the official state cookie. As you can see, there is not much left in the food category to pass another law, except maybe the official state bread or perhaps the official state vegetable. There is still time.
But my all time favorite action of the state legislature is when in 1998 they named the official state polka. Yes, Lenny Gomulka’s “Say Hello to Someone From Massachusetts” is now enshrined forever as the melody to dance to with your honey.
Of course our legislators do other things such as pass budgets, raise taxes and regulate our lives, but during slow periods they also turn their attention to naming rights, and as you can see, they have been hard at work.