THE BUG BILL
Just three and a half weeks after making it illegal to run over insects on any state or county highway, the Goosaloosa County Board of Supervisors also wants to make it illegal for you to squash bugs on the windshield of your car.
"The bug population of Goosaloosa County has been decimated by automobiles in the last twenty years," Marvin Speckler, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors said in a speech at the annual Mothers Against Insect Murder (MAIM) banquet held in Puckey Huddle last night. "If we don't start doing something about it now, we could wipe out the entire bug population of our county by the turn of the century," Speckler said.
Similar arguments were presented last month when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution making it illegal for county residents to run over bugs on the highway. Under the provisions of the Bug Bill (as the legislation has come to be known) a first time offender would get off with a $10 fine and a warning, second time offenders would get a $100 fine and one year's probation, and those committing a third offense would have to pay a $1000 fine and serve a mandatory sentence of 30 days in the county jail.
"Even though the original resolution goes a long way toward protecting our valuable bug population, it isn't nearly enough," Speckler told the MAIM members. "Unless we want to become the first bugless county in the country, we must take stronger measures."
He then read excerpts from a study published last year by the Bugaloosa Institute which concluded that, "the bug population of Goosaloosa County was only 73 billion insects per acre during the summer months, which is a 67 percent decrease from the 218 billion insects per acre that our students counted only five years ago. If this trend is allowed to continue, we will be down to a zero bug population before the year 2010."
"We all know that Goosaloosa County can't survive without its bugs," Speckler said, "so we have to make sure that that doesn't happen. We're going to have to ensure that Goosaloosa bugs are free from threats of extinction by insecticides, bug-eating birds, human encroachment, or automobiles. Especially automobiles."
He went on to quote another study which found that "almost 80 percent of bug fatalities occurring from other than natural causes have been traced directly or indirectly to the automobile. And, contrary to what most people believe," he told an attentive audience, "the majority of auto-related bug deaths aren't due to being run over. Instead, two-thirds of the fatalities recorded in this category are due to injuries received in bug/auto collisions."
"What that means in plain english, is that the bugs of Goosaloosa County are being wiped out by careless drivers," Speckler said, "and it is the responsibility of the County Board of Supervisors to do something about it." He concluded his speech by saying, "I take that responsibility seriously, and I fully intend to see that our bugs get the protection they deserve."
That protection will take the form of a resolution calling for stiff fines and mandatory jail sentences for anyone who "willfully injures an insect by hitting it with the windshield of a car." The resolution will be introduced at next month's meeting, and unanimous approval is expected.