A motto, a flag and a frog?
California has established an array of official state symbols, from its widely recognizable ursine flag to some state foods enshrined by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Now Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella, is hopping on the state emblem game with a bill to name the red-legged frog California’s state amphibian.
The crimson-limbed critter would join the redwood, the desert tortoise and the golden trout as a recognized organic expression of California’s uniqueness. The Rana draytonii is categorized as a threatened species.
In a nod to a beloved Sacramento tradition, Pérez’s bill notes that the frog achieved fame via the Mark Twain story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” a tale that leads lawmakers to get their hands dirty at an annual frog-jump event.
But at its heart, Pérez said, the bill is an educational endeavor. He drafted it after elementary school students researched the frog’s California history. Two students and their teacher will be flown up to Sacramento to testify for the bill on Tuesday.
“We just thought it was a great way for students to engage,” Pérez said.
With a closely watched bill to ban orca shows making its first committee appearance on Tuesday, bill proponents Monday will present an online petition with over a million signatures to Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, chairman of the committee weighing the bill’s fate. This evening, the bill’s author (Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica) and its sponsor (the Animal Welfare Institute) will host a screening of the inciting documentary, “Blackfish,” at the Crest Theatre.
“I think he has some very good defenses.”