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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Otter signs salamander bill, designating new state amphibian

Ilah Hickman, right, and friends pose for
Ilah Hickman, right, and friends pose for "selfies" with Gov. Butch Otter after he signed her bill into law, declaring the Idaho giant salamander the state amphibian (Betsy Russell)

Ilah Hickman and her friends got to take “selfies” with the governor today, after he signed into law HB 1, the 14-year-old’s long-sought bill to designate the Idaho giant salamander as the state amphibian. “There ya are, kiddo, it’s all done,” Gov. Butch Otter told Ilah after signing the bill, adding, “Good job!”

Afterward, the Otter posed for pictures with Ilah and her family and friends, at one point putting his arm around her shoulder and telling her, “You didn’t think I was going to veto it? No, no, you didn’t.”

The youngster first began pushing for the salamander as Idaho’s state amphibian after learning about state symbols in the 4th grade. She’s now an 8th grader – and an accomplished citizen lobbyist whom many lawmakers have repeatedly advised to consider, sometime in the future, running for office.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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