COLUMBUS -- Nearly three decades ago, lawmakers adopted a resolution naming the McCoys' "Hang on Sloopy" as the official rock song of the state of Ohio.
Since then, many residents have treated the tune, which often prompts Buckeye State listeners to shout "O-H-I-O" during the chorus, as if it carried that designation.
Turns out, they were wrong; the initial designation was completed in resolution form and was never codified in Ohio Revised Code.
Two state lawmakers are hoping to change that, via House Bill 283, which had a first hearing before the chamber's State and Local Government Committee Tuesday.
"We are simply trying to put Sloopy in its proper place (in Ohio Revised Code)," said Rep. Mike Stinziano, D-Columbus.
, a primary co-sponsor of the measure.
The legislation would codify the song as the state's official rock song. Backers say it's an appropriate honor, given the songs Ohio roots -- 'Sloopy' apparently was a woman from the Steubenville area, and the rock band that made the song famous was from Dayton. The song has also become an anthem for the Ohio State University football team.
"... The only way to be sure that this state treasure remains Ohio's official rock song in perpetuity or at least until some future session of the General Assembly decided otherwise is to enact a codified statute for the specific purpose of designating 'Hang on Sloopy' as such," said Rep. Cheryl Grossman, R-Grove City, co-sponsor of the bill.
HB 283 was not the only music-related designation before the lawmaker panel Tuesday.
The House committee also heard sponsor testimony on legislation to name the song "Ohio," by Zach Paxson, as the state's official county song.
The Youngstown-area native wrote the song after a trip to Texas and performed it before lawmakers Tuesday.
Sponsoring Rep. Nick Barborak, D-Lisbon, said in testimony that the song "celebrates not just the rural parts of our state but every part, from our farms to our industrial heritage to our growing cities."
He added, "It's an upbeat song… It's very catchy. I've seen it performed live a number of times. And I can tell you it's a song that gets the crowd off their butts, on their feet, and singing along."