Pafford’s bid to make scrub jay the state bird facing a long flight

Florida scrub jay

Florida scrub jay

House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford’s bid to have the scrub jay designated as Florida’s official bird faces a long flight.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, is requiring that Pafford’s bill (HB 843) clear four committees on its way to the House floor — increasing the odds that it won’t survive the two-month legislative session.

The scrub jay bill is opposed by Marion Hammer, longtime lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, who managed to sidetrack similar efforts on behalf of the bird in 1999 and 2000.

“For me to get through every hoop, basically, it’s impossible,” said Pafford, of West Palm Beach.

While Pafford’s bill has drawn four committee assignments, by contrast proposed legislation (HB 865) that would outlaw most abortions in Florida has only been sent to three committees for hearings.

Another major lifestyle-changing measure that would put the state permanently on daylight savings time (HB 893) also has been directed to three committees.

“It does illustrate the issue of who gets their priorities met in this process,” Pafford said.

Hammer says she is a fan of the mockingbird, which was named Florida’s official bird by the 1927 Senate. She also worries that switching to the scrub jay would increase environmental efforts to protect the threatened bird’s habitat, mostly coastal and interior scrub across Central Florida.

 

 

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