Say’s Firefly is closer to becoming the official state insect

By Quinn Fitzgerald

INDIANAPOLIS ­– After four years, Cumberland Elementary students in West Lafayette have finally made progress in their quest to make Say’s Firefly Indiana’s official state insect.

Senate Bill 236, authored by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, passed out of the Senate Tuesday by a unanimous vote. He said every member of the Public Policy Committee wanted to sign onto the bill after testimony was heard last week.

Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, sponsored a bill to make Say’s Firefly the official state inspect.Photo by Quinn Fitzgerald,

Kayla Xu, a fifth grader at Cumberland who began advocating for Say’s Firefly in second grade, is the truth author of the bill, Alting said.

Alting praised Xu and her classmates who testified last Wednesday, citing the detailed scientific research they shared.

“It was one of the heartwarming experiences that I have had in the Senate, and it’s one of these situations that you feel good about being a Hoosier and that you feel good about being an American simply because of the fact that this is our next generation,” he said.

The most important reason to pass the bill, Alting said, is to reassure the future generation of Hoosiers that the government is working for them.

Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, also commended Xu for her presentation and went on to share what he learned about Thomas Say, whom the firefly is named after.

“I know that folks are hoping this might be something that turns into a tourist attraction,” he said of New Harmony, where Thomas Say is buried.

Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, recalled moments of seeing fireflies first-hand both when he was a child and to this day, both of which left him in awe of the insects.

“I have never seen anything like it anywhere in the world,” Stoops said.

Alting said even if the bill doesn’t make it, the world will not end, but it has tremendous values.

The bill moves to the House.

 Quinn Fitzgerald is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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