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Fossil bill one of 10 signed into law by Brownback

4/8/2014

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

With little fanfare, Gov. Sam Brownback signed 10 bills into law, including one designating two state fossils.

The bills were signed Friday, according to a statement released Monday from Brownback’s office.

The other bills dealt with the definition of watercraft for taxation purposes, changing the purpose, membership and authority of the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority and expanding the Kansas No-Call act to include cellular telephone numbers.

But it’s the fossil bill that has been the subject of interest — prior to the squabble about school finance — in northwest Kansas where both the remains of the Tylosaurus and the Pteranodon have been found.

The bill for both a marine fossil, the Tylosaurus, and the flying fossil, the Pternodon, were the subject of hijinks soon after it passed out of committee and was put on the no-controversy consent calendar.

It’s still not known who stepped forward and pulled the bill from the three-day, fast-track schedule.

In the end, the Senate passed the measure 40-0, sending it to Brownback for his signature.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, whose daughter testified in favor of the measure, had helped bring pressure to bear to get the bill back before the full Senate.

“I think somebody pulled it off because they thought I couldn’t pronounce the names,” said Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, whose district includes the sites where the fossils were discovered, as well as Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays.

Among the proponents of the bill was Mike Everhart, an adjunct curator of paleontology at Sternberg. He testified in favor of the bill in front of House and Senate committees.