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Apr 12

Breaking through

The National Day of the Cowboy has broken out of the gate in a big way to kick off 2019. At 9:27 AM on March 28, 2019, the Arkansas House of Representatives voted to pass the National Day of the Cowboy bill, which had already been passed by the AR senate. Volunteers Jennifer Michaels and Marshall Mitchell traveled to Little Rock twice to speak in support of the bill. It now moves on to the Arkansas governor for signing.

Just a few days later, we received word from volunteer, Rick Thompson at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, that on the afternoon of April 1, 2019, the North Dakota legislature also passed the National Day of the Cowboy bill. This means we are now up to fourteen states that have passed the National Day of the Cowboy bill permanently into law. Those states are; Wyoming (#1), California (#2), New Mexico (#3), Arizona (#4), Oklahoma (#5), Oregon (#6), Mississippi (#7), Kansas(#8), Virginia (#9), Texas (#10), Idaho (#11), Indiana (#12), Arkansas (#13) and North Dakota (#14).

Our bill was also heard and voted on in the Montana legislature. The bill, SJR 10, as sponsored by Senator Kenneth Bogner, passed in their senate in March. I was later able to travel to Helena, as was Whitefish, Montana resident, Ted Valentiner, to testify in front of the House committee then considering it. A few weeks after that hearing, on April 4th, the House delivered quite a surprise to the cowboy and ranching communities of Montana when it voted against recognizing the Day of the Cowboy. The vote was 44 in favor, 56 opposed. This was the first time a floor vote had ended in defeat of the bill.

As you know, the 15th Annual National Day of the Cowboy milestone is this year, so we are still holding out hope that Missouri and Tennessee will pass the bill before their respective legislative sessions end. We’ve all been holding our breath hoping to have at least fifteen states to mark our fifteenth anniversary. Our bill sponsor in Tennessee is Representative Sam Whitson. The sponsor in Missouri is Representative Warren Love.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for citizens to call their legislators when they want to see a measure passed. Simply call them up, give your name, name the bill you support (including the number if you have it), and politely express at least one reason why you are in favor of the bill. Call as many legislators as you are able. Don’t limit yourself to just your own representatives.

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