May 18, 2024

The Nerve Archive

Where Government Gets Exposed

46 State Symbols … and Counting?

15187f276f68cd5b8f07c35b5c442e63Dreaming of making the Atlantic brief squid the official state cephalopod? How about poison ivy the official state irritant? You still have a chance to push your cause.

Indeed, for those eager to designate even more state symbols, the thought could be “while you breathe, you hope,” at least if they wanted to apply one of the Palmetto State’s two official mottos to the idea.

That’s because a joint resolution introduced by Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, to prohibit the establishment of new official state symbols and emblems appears all but dead.

Peeler introduced the measure in May 2011; and while it was referred to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee in January, it’s gone nowhere since then.

With the crossover deadline today, the only way the resolution could move forward would be if the Senate passed the bill and two-thirds of House members agreed to take it up.

Peeler’s resolution cites the fact that South Carolina now has nearly four dozen official state symbols and emblems, including:

  • The Carolina wolf spider, designated as South Carolina’s official spider;
  • Indian grass, titled the official State Grass of South Carolina; and
  • The Northern right whale, decreed the Palmetto State’s official State Migratory Marine Mammal.

The most recent addition to the list of official state symbols was the designation of the collard green as the official state vegetable, signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley in June 2011.

According to Peeler’s resolution, “a limit on the official declaration of symbols and emblems would ensure and protect the indelible history of our State and prominence and significance of State symbols and emblems.”

The business of designating state symbols in South Carolina is an old one, dating back at least 150 years.

The state flag, for example, was adopted by the General Assembly in January 1861; while one of South Carolina’s two official state songs, “Carolina,” by famed poet Henry Timrod, was designated in February 1911.

Most state symbols have been adopted since the 1980s, however.

And while legislators have busied themselves with those feel-good measures, they have failed to substantively embrace such important issues as tax reform and restructuring.

Reach Dietrich at (803) 779-5022 ext. 110, or

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