'There once was a bill for a poet' - East Valley Tribune: Politics

'There once was a bill for a poet'

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Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 3:05 pm

State lawmakers refused to give Gov. Jan Brewer anywhere near the amount of money she sought for education.

But they did agree, on the last day of the session, to ensure that school children know about poetry — at least to the extent that it doesn’t cost any tax dollars.

The House voted Thursday to approve creation of the post of state poet laureate. The measure, which already has been approved by the Senate, requires the governor to choose someone for the two-year post who is recognized in the literary, cultural or academic communities and has a “significant prior record” of published or documented work or service in literary arts.

Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, who crafted the measure, said this is more than an honorary post.

“It will help in the promotion of English, written and spoken English,” he said.

“And the poet laureate will be working with the schools,” Melvin continued, with all costs paid with private donations. “So I just think it’s a winner all the way around.”

Not everyone thought so. And Rep. Justin Pierce, R-Mesa, decided to put his objections into rhyme:

“There once was a bill for a poet.

It wasn’t needed, but the Senate didn’t know it.

So the House with a grin said this bill just can’t win.

We’re ready to sine die, so don’t blow it.”

As it turned out, though, the bill could win, with just five other representatives from the 60-member House refusing to go along.

As to “sine die” — a Latin term used to signify the end of the annual legislative session — lawmakers plodded along for hours after that vote in an effort to finish their work.

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