RICHMOND, Va. — Legislation proposed by a class of 4th graders from Hampton almost became the one that got away, but the bill declaring the striped bass the official saltwater fish of Virginia is now one step away from becoming law.
Concern about the health of the Chesapeake Bay prompted the 4th graders from Spratley Gifted Center to propose the legislation.
With their testimony, the measure sailed through the State Senate and a House committee.
It hit a snag on the floor of the House, when delegates argued that the state’s menhaden fishery has a stronger claim.
I maintain that the menhaden is a much more important fish to the Commonwealth of Virginia," said Manassas Delegate Jackson Miller. It’s much more important to the culture and history of this Commonwealth," he told lawmakers, "and quite frankly it's more important to the commercial viability of all fisheries in the Commonwealth of Virginia."
"I just want to mention Mr. Speaker that striped bass was served at the very first Thanksgiving," countered Hampton Delegate Jeion Ward. "That for no other reason should make this one of our state emblems."
The menhaden amendment failed by a single vote, and the House approved the striped bass bill.
Now, it’s up to Governor McDonnell to decide if the students’ class project will become state law.