Bill for Indiana insect championed by students moves forward

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Elementary school students who have been pushing Indiana lawmakers for years to name an official state insect saw their plan take a big step forward this week.

The bill for the Say’s firefly to become the state insect was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday. Similar efforts over the last four years haven’t made it out of committee hearings. The bill now moves to the House.

“This is a great way for young students to be involved in the civic process,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb, who endorsed the bill last year after students wrote him a letter. “It will promote good citizens, and it will bring attention to science and the outdoors.”

Eleven students from Cumberland and Happy Hollow elementary schools traveled to the Legislature last week to argue their case

Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, told the students their presentation was “one of the best presentations” he’s seen at the statehouse.

Student Kayla Xu has worked on the project since the 2014-15 school year. She told a Senate committee that choosing the insect would draw people from across the country to visit Indiana.

“Everybody loves catching and watching fireflies,” she said.

Tom Turpin, a retired Purdue entomology professor, also spoke in favor of the bill.

“Every kid in the state of Indiana, and their parents and their grandparents, collected lightning bugs at some point in their lives,” Turpin said.