Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina will have six new state symbols under a bill that is headed to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk.
The measure was hurried through committee Wednesday so it could pass on the same day that lawmakers were honoring Vollis Simpson, the foremost maker of whirligig art who recently died.
The bill named the whirligigs created by Simpson as the state's official folk art.
"His art, as strange as it may sound to some of you, is recognized all over the world," said Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, who described "people from all over the world" tramping through the folk artist's field to come visit him.
The five other pieces of the bill named other official symbols:
- State fossil: The fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark.
- Frog: The pine barrens tree frog (Hyla andersonii)
- Salamander: The marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum)
- Marsupial: The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
- Art Medium: Clay
Sen. Dan Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, noted that the possum in question would be the "Virginia Possum" species.
"I don't know if we have a North Carolina possum. There seem to be plenty of them running around," Clodfelter said, winding up for a question to Newton. "Are there any of our other state symbols that it's legal to hunt and kill?"
The measure passed 45-3, with Clodfelter and Sens. Dan Blue, D-Wake, and Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, voting against it.