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Slaying the 'Tully monster'Finance reform on hold in Arizona

Gov. James R. Thompson recently unsheathed his veto pen to kill a monster--or more accurately, to slay a bill honoring the beast.

This month, the Illinois Governor vetoed legislation that would have authorized a statewide referendum among' elementary-school students on whether to designate Tullimonstrum gregarium, a marine animal that lived 300 million years ago, as the state's official fossil.

In a brief veto message, the Governor said he turned his thumb down on the bill, in part, because it offered students only one choice for a state dinosaurian emblem.

"That's how they run elections

in Russia," he said. "This is not Russia, this is Illinois." He also noted that the referendum would have cost the state about $6,000 "at ame when we are cutting back on education."

The so-called "Tully monster" fossil was discovered in 1955 by the geologist Francis Tully in a coal deposit near Joliet.

It is believed to be unique to the state.

Last November, Illinois schoolchildren selected the bluegill as the state's piscine symbol in a similar election.

Mr. Thompson said his personal choice for a state fish was Echeneis naucrates, better known as the sucker.


Key lawmakers in Arizona say that plans for a special fall session devoted to school-finance reform have been placed on hold due to growing uncertainty over Gov. Evan Mecham's political future.

"One of the reasons we're doing such uncontroversial stuff is because of the recall effort," an aide to a member of the Senate education committee said last week. "You don't know who's going to be governor."

Leaders of the Mecham Recall Committee said last week that they have collected the 216,746 signatures of registered voters--one-quarter of the total number of votes cast in last November's gubernatorial race--needed to force another election.

The committee will continue to collect signatures and hopes to have 350,000 by the Nov. 3 deadline to ensure that enough are validated.

The drive to recall the Governor began last July. A new election could be held as soon as next March.

--tm & ef

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