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Appleton’s passage is truly a whale of a bill

OLYMPIA — During last year’s legislative session, a bill that would have made the Orca whale the official state marine mammal failed to pass, primarily due to time constraints of the biennium.

When first year state Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) found out that it hadn’t passed — and also that elementary students were involved with its creation — she made sure the bill was re-introduced, this time front and center before the legislature.

The piece of legislation, House Bill 1759, has become Appleton’s first sponsored bill to clear both the house and senate and will likely be signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Aside from the fact that the bill would make the Orca a new emblem for the state, Appleton said she’s most proud of the children from Oak Harbor Elementary School, who helped make it happen.

“The most exciting thing about this for me is the kids,” Appleton said. “They’ve been through a two year civics lesson they’ll never forget. Each of them can tell their children and grandchildren that they helped do this.”

HB 1759 first passed the House by a 90-7 vote and cleared the Senate by a 46-1 vote. The signature is anticipated from the governor but Appleton is hoping Gregoire will take up a special offer to sign the bill at the school that worked to create it.

“I’m trying to get the governor to go to Oak Harbor,” Appleton said. “That would be the frosting on the cake.”

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