The first bill passed in this session of Utah’s State Legislature had nothing to do with healthcare, education or even state funding. Instead, it was about trees. A fourth-grade class from Monroe Elementary School approached Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, claiming that it wasn’t a very good idea to have a neighboring state’s name in Utah’s state tree: the Colorado Blue Spruce.
Senators on both sides of the legislature seemed to agree with the class, with defenses being thrown half-heartedly to oppose the bill, SB 41. Rep. Wilson broke into laughter at one point during his proposal, even having to sit down during the proceedings to calm himself.
The defenses against the change were rooted in claims that although the proposed new state tree, the quaking aspen, is beautiful, it can serve as a “weed,” and had to be removed from one state senator’s front yard.
Wilson responded with the claim that Earth’s largest living organism is an aspen near Fish Lake that cover 106 acres and includes 47,000 quaking aspen trees.
Eventually, the state senate and house voted for the change, giving the fourth graders, who were invited to the proceedings, some tangible evidence of how the state legislature works.
Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, did have the last word after asking the press, “Would we have a different state tree if someone was named locust?” This was in response to the knowledge that Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, does indeed have a grandson named Aspen, and was one of the forerunners in the effort for the change.
Utah may be nixing the Colorado Blue Spruce as their state tree, but here in Colorado, the Blue Spruce reputation is alive and well. Contact Spruce Point Tree Farm today to order yours!