As far as we know, there is no sanity test for Illinois state legislators.
However, if a particular piece of legislation ever makes it to the floors of the House and Senate, we might just wind up with a roll-call list of which lawmakers are grounded in reality, and which ones are a tad kooky.
We speak of a bill sponsored by state Sen. Tom Rooney, R-Rolling Meadows.
His bill would eliminate all official state designations – except the state flag, seal, slogan and song.
Rooney believes lawmakers have gone overboard with designating certain items as officially representing the state.
Since 2000, seven official state symbols have been added to a list that already had more than a dozen designations, among them the state flower, tree, bird and insect.
2001 – Official state soil: drummer silty clay loam.
2004 – Official state snack food: popcorn.
2005 – Official state reptile: painted turtle.
2005 – Official state amphibian: eastern tiger salamander.
2007 – Official state fruit: gold rush apple.
2015 – Official state vegetable: sweet corn.
2015 – Official state pie: pumpkin.
We think Rooney is right.
Illinois faces a horrific budget, debt and financial crisis – the state just got its sixth credit rating downgrade in the past two years. It would be crazy to keep doing what they’ve always done – ignore real problems and promote trivial bills instead.
Even so, some lawmakers still think it’s a good idea to introduce bills to name new official state symbols.
For example, state Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, R-Springfield, is sponsoring legislation to name shelter dogs and cats as the official state pet.
And state Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, wants to designate corn as the official state grain.
Don’t these lawmakers have more important things to do?
It’s nutty to fiddle with trivial legislation when the state’s financial house is burning.
If Rooney’s bill ever makes it to a vote, we would hope it would pass.