'Grand Canyon state' may become official - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

'Grand Canyon state' may become official

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Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 2:37 pm | Updated: 2:29 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

 That slogan on most Arizona license plates may soon become official.

With only two dissenting votes, the state House voted Tuesday to declare Arizona to officially be "The Grand Canyon State.'' HB 2019 now goes to the Senate.

The measure originated with Marshall Trimble, the state historian, who said he was researching a question from a child inquiring about Arizona's official nickname. Trimble said he was surprised to learn that there was none, despite the designation on the license plates.

He approached Rep. Sam Crump, R-Anthem, who agreed to craft legislation to remedy the deficiency.

Not everyone was enthusiastic about making the change -- at least not now.

"I'm just disgusted that we're voting on things like that instead of actually doing the work of the budget,'' said Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson,'' pointing out that lawmakers have yet to adopt a budget for the coming fiscal year that begins in five weeks. "I think we have other priorities right now.''

That's also the position of fellow Tucson Democrat Matt Heinz who cast the other dissenting vote on the measure.

"I would just like to prioritize things a little bit,'' he said. And Heinz also questioned the necessity of this particular piece of legislation. "We are The Grand Canyon State,'' he said. Heinz said that's how Arizona is know and there was no need to make it part of state law.

Crump, however, said he doesn't see it that way.

"I'm excited,'' he said. "We might make it official to be what I think most people believe us to be, The Grand Canyon State.'

Nor does he believe the legislation is frivolous. This isn't the first time legislators have spent time and effort coming up with official state emblems.

Lawmakers have previously declared turquoise to be the state gemstone, the palo verde as the state tree, the cactus wren as state bird, the Arizona trout as the state fish and even the Bola  tie as the official state neckwear.

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