We Don't Walk in Maryland
May 27, 2003 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Maryland Gov. vetoes 9-year-old's bill to designate walking as Maryland's official state excercise. "Saying walking has no specific ties to Maryland, Gov. Robert Ehrlich announced Wednesday that he vetoed the bill because 'it serves no public purpose.' Supporters questioned that logic Thursday, especially after learning Ehrlich signed another state symbol bill - [also] sponsored by elementary school pupils - proclaiming the thoroughbred as the state horse."
posted by Joey Michaels (20 comments total)
who's a 9-year-old gotta sleep with around here to get a bill passed?
posted by oog at 8:39 PM on May 27, 2003

I have high hopes that Mr Ehrlich will outgrow his current perspective.
posted by troutfishing at 8:58 PM on May 27, 2003

Superb non-story. Thanks for making this 15 minutes better.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:02 PM on May 27, 2003

What's the point of all this 'official' state stuff anyways? State horse? State bird? State exercise? I can see the point of maybe having a state motto, but this is getting out of hand. All designating a state exercise does is make the law books ~.1g heavier and give school children one more piece of useless trivia to fail to memorize.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:05 PM on May 27, 2003

Good for Ehrlich. Bills should actually mean or do something.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:22 PM on May 27, 2003

Just about every state has the square dance as the state dance, or at least the state folk dance.

Maryland has a state cat. It's state sport is... jousting. The state crustacean is actually a sensible choice, relatively speaking.

My birth state of Missouri has a state tree nut. The "Crownvetch" is my adopted home state of Pennsylvania's symbolic beautification plant. And finally, in Massachusetts, you have a state muffin. (Corn.)

In short, state symbols are ridiculous.
posted by tss at 10:06 PM on May 27, 2003

(ack! "its", not "it's". hate that.)
posted by tss at 10:08 PM on May 27, 2003

State symbols are good wholesome fun that bring back a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" era of grade-school kids. Bringing in a modern, do-gooder category like exercise just tampers with the honest purity of something that's supposed to be about trees, birds or fish (I won't defend muffins) and other more or less tangible things that don't jump out at you and scream "My parents put me up to this." So, yeah, good for him.
posted by transona5 at 10:39 PM on May 27, 2003 [1 favorite]

Am I correct in assuming he started the whole thing to impress this Tallin Walker girl in the picture? Otherwise it's a pretty lame choice for a state exercise, compared to squat thrusts or towing 2,500 pound boats.
posted by Gary at 11:00 PM on May 27, 2003

Thank god the thoroughbred has been declared the state horse -- those marginalbreds have been getting a free ride for too long.
posted by thanotopsis at 4:12 AM on May 28, 2003

Smith is part of the Maryland Smart Step Forward Coalition, a pedestrian advocacy group.

While the notion of an "official state exercise" is among the most eyebrow-raising I have heard in a while (leads me to imagine campaigns like "Crunch-Up New York!" or "Pilates is Pennsylvania") I note that this is not quite a nonstory -- clearly this family is on the whole into the idea of advocating for a more pedestrian-based society, which means more funding for public transport and a general program to encourage non-automobile-based infrastructure. It's an idea -- and even a basis for legislative activism -- that seems to me perfectly laudable.

Too bad this particular strategy for getting a pro-pedestrian message out was so hilariously awful.
posted by BT at 5:16 AM on May 28, 2003

Walking is insensitive to those with no legs.
Bicep curls are insensitive to those without arms.
Politics is insensitive to those with heads.
posted by benjh at 5:30 AM on May 28, 2003

Not really 'Newsfilter'.

More of the 'People Magazine Filter' persuasion. Maybe 'Oprahfilter'.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 5:56 AM on May 28, 2003

Here in Maine, we have an official state dirt.
posted by JanetLand at 6:01 AM on May 28, 2003

As feel good as this is, the Gov is right there is no reason walking is specific to MD.
posted by stbalbach at 8:35 AM on May 28, 2003

Wow, who's toes did this kid step on? Usually you have to be in politics for years before you have to deal with this kind of partisan infighting.

I predict the kid will be a state senator by the time he's old enough to drink.

And while there's no reason walking is specific to Maryland, there's no reason for all the other state symbols, either - they're just glad-handing. At most, they're sops to some wheelhorse or other. If there was no reason to sign the bill, there was no reason not to, either. It wouldn't cost them anything.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:14 AM on May 28, 2003

Janet: Apparently it's not uncommon to have a state dirt. Virginia's, for example, is Pamunkey. What I find more amazing than the fact that some states have official state dirts is that dirt has names.
posted by kindall at 9:56 AM on May 28, 2003

Kindall -- what amuses me, though, is that Maine's state dirt is established in statute; it was a bill in the legislature and now it's law. Virginia's dirt I don't think is; it's just been declared by an agency but didn't make it as a law. This page has a fun list of things that have tried to be legislatively declared the official state whatever in Virginia, and have either succeeded or failed. State reptile!
posted by JanetLand at 10:44 AM on May 28, 2003

Not only does Maine have a state dirt, my wife PERSONALLY typed the legislation for it while working for the lobbyist who got it introduced.
posted by briank at 11:39 AM on May 28, 2003

Not only does Maine have a state dirt ...

See, this is why Maine should never have seceeded from Massachusetts. We not only have an official state dirt (Paxton Soil), we have FOUR official state rocks (including, yes, Plymouth, which is the Official State Historic Rock, as opposed to the Official State Explorer Rock in Dighton), as well as two official state minerals.

Oh, and an official state muffin (corn, which I think won out over cranberry because the latter already had the honor of being the official state beverage AND the official state berry).
posted by agaffin at 2:33 PM on May 28, 2003

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