North Carolina would adopt three new official festivals and an official state butterfly under S 236, which passed on a 105- 9 vote Tuesday afternoon. The particulars include:
- The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail would become the official state butterfly.
- The the Swansboro Mullet Festival would become the official mullet festival of the state. We're talking about the fish, not the hair cut, although one might imagine you would see one at the other.
- The Shelby Liver Mush Festival would become the state's official Fall liver mush festival.
- The Marion Liver Mush Festival would become state's official Spring liver mush festival.
"I don't know if I can can support any liver mush festival because I don't like liver mush," Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-Surry, told her colleagues.
North Carolina has two length lists of official state symbols and state adoptions, including and official state beverage (milk) and state stone (emerald). The two liver mush festivals are a matter of geographic pride and the state has addressed similar splits before, such as when it adopted an official red berry (strawberry) and an official blue berry (blueberry).
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it only needs one vote to pass but its fate is uncertain. There are certain senators who don't like these official state symbol bills and frequently vote against them.
And, as another wag here in the legislative press room points out, I'm not sure about the implications of naming an official festival in honor of a fish that is not the official state saltwater fish (the channel bass or red drum).
Update 6/7/12: The Senate has passed this bill and sent it on to Gov. Bev Perdue.
There were the usual rhetorical frivolities that come with the passage of such a bill, but Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who presides over the Senate, may have gotten in the best one.
"I believe the monarch butterflies are forming a caucus right now and very offended by this," Dalton said.
The measure is now in Gov. Bev Perdue's hands.