March 8, 2009

5th grader inspires Arizona legislation

A fifth grader in California has inspired Arizona legislation to give the state an official nickname, state officials said.

Tori Smith, 11, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., discovered in her research for a school project that Arizona does not have an official moniker, The Arizona Republic reported Sunday.

I couldn't find when Arizona got its nickname, said Smith, who wrote a report on what is commonly referred to as the Grand Canyon State.

But the nickname was not official, and the state has sometimes been called other unofficial nicknames, including the Valentine State, because Arizona became a state on Valentine's Day 1912, and the Baby State, because it was the last state admitted to the union -- at least until Alaska and Hawaii achieved statehood.

Smith contacted Arizona state historian Marshall Trimble, which led to contacting Rep. Sam Crump, who introduced House Bill 2019. The bill would officially name Arizona the Grand Canyon State.

It's the feel-good bill of the session, said Crump, a Republican.

Trimble urged lawmakers to pass the legislation quickly.

If we don't, Las Vegas is likely to steal it! he said.