We, the citizens of this great state, should appreciate that not every bill the Legislature suggests becomes official.
Ray Parr, Capitol writer, offered this example in The Oklahoman, on March 25, 1949.
“Oklahoma’s $15-a-day legislators in the house of representatives spent more than an hour Thursday before reaching the statesmanlike conclusion that Oklahoma’s official bird should be the ‘mileormore.’
“It was considered a good joke on the senate which had passed a resolution naming the scissor-tailed flycatcher the official bird.
“There was some doubt about whether there is such a bird as the ‘mileormore.’
“None of the members could vouch for having seen it but several had heard of it.
“Some members believed a ‘mileormore’ was a bird that flies backwards and thus can see for a mile or more.
“Others were equally convinced that it is a bird that sticks its head in the sand and whistles with such volume it can be heard a mile or more.
“The amendment selecting the new bird was offered by Charles Ozmun, Lawton.”
There was more discussion, but Ozmun went on to defend his amendment.
“I want to name a bird most appropriate for the gentlemen of the senate,” he said.
“We have no time to be fooling around trying to name a bird,” he said.
He didn’t explain just how his “mileormore” amendment had saved much time.
“He added that he thought the most popular bird in the state was the crow because you could see it everywhere.
“‘Pardon me, but do you mean Old Crow?’ asked Joe Smalley, floor leader.
“‘Everybody knows how I feel about Old Crow,’ Ozmun, one of the house repeal leaders replied.”
After more discussion, the amendment was adopted and was advanced.
The mileormore bird would make one more appearance in The Oklahoman, this time on April 13, 1949, when Ray Parr reported the near passing of an amendment that would have made the bird official and would have ended prohibition.
The April 13 article spelled the bird mileomore, dropping the first r.
“The house of representatives Tuesday heeded Gov. Turner’s plea for a $36 millions building bond issue but, faced with a roll call vote, backed down on submitting repeal at the same special election May 3.
“A few minutes after the building bond bill was passed, the repeal issue flew into the lower chamber on the tail of the ‘mileomore’ bird, without advance notice.”
Using the previous mileormore bird amendment, house members would “strike all contents of the measure and substitute text of the constitutional repeal amendment.”
The bill would pass two procedural votes, but when a roll call vote was demanded, the bill failed 54-44 and the mileormore bird disappeared into history.
The scissor-tailed flycatcher would become Oklahoma's official state bird in 1951 and the state would not repeal prohibition until April 7, 1959.
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