Ala. House panel OKs manatee as state sea mammal

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The fourth graders are at it again -
writing legislation for the Alabama Legislature.

The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee on Wednesday approved a bill proposed by fourth graders at St. Ignacius Elementary School in Mobile to make the manatee Alabama's official marine mammal.

The large mammals, sometimes called "sea cows," are mostly known for swimming along the Florida coast, but in recent years have been showing up in rivers and inland waterways around Mobile.

Rep. Jim Barton of Mobile said he decided to sponsor the bill after his daughter, Georgianne, asked if her fourth grade class
could name an official state mammal.

She said the students chose the manatee over the bottle nosed dolphin.

Committee members suggested other candidates, such as the
beaver, during a light-hearted debate.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-04-09 1657EST

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