The Illinois legislature is regional mélange, comprised of legislators from the nation's third largest city, as well as lawmakers who represent rural areas that are geographically closer to Mississippi than they are to Chicago. That diversity was on display yesterday when the House took up legislation to regulate fishing. State Rep. Charlie Meier is Republican, and a proud farmer from Okawville, down in southwestern Illinois. He also, apparently, likes fishing. Which may be why the Dept. of Natural Resources asked him to sponsor legislation on its behalf. The goal: to add catfish to the list of fish that can be "taken by means of a pitchfork, underwater spear gun" or "bow and arrow." Naturally, this raised some questions. Democratic Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo asked.
"Can you tell me what other species can be taken by pitchfork?"
"Buffalo suckers, gar, bowfin, shad, drum, carp. Catfish."
The bill easily passed. And Meier resolved to take Franks fishing, to show him how it's done.