If a bill heading for the New Mexico state legislature becomes law, it could cut off public funding for a very unusual hobby: searching for Bigfoot.
State Sen. George Munoz drafted Senate Bill 243 with the low-key title "Restrict certain higher ed expenditures." Specifically, it bans state higher education employees from spending public funds on looking for or catching fictitious creatures.
The list of mythological things includes Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, abominable snowmen, Pokemon, leprechauns and bogeymen.
There's a real reason why Munoz feels the need to introduce legislation aimed at fictional creatures. Christopher Dyer, the executive director of the University of New Mexico's Gallup branch, reportedly spent over $7,000 in taxpayer money to fund a Bigfoot conference and expedition in 2016.
Dyer told KRQE News 13 the expedition participants did not find Bigfoot in the Sandia Mountains outside Albuquerque. Dyer does believe the mythical beasts exist, saying that one of them threw a rock at him one night (he thinks). He also says they have "a very strong odor."
The conference, titled "Bigfoot in New Mexico: Evidence, Ecology, and Behavior," featured Bigfoot believers as speakers, but didn't include skeptics as a counterpoint. The revelations led to public outcry about the use of taxpayer funding for cryptozoological pursuits.
Munoz's bill is scheduled to go before the Senate Education Committee on Friday. If it passes through the legislature, then Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) all over New Mexico will be able to sleep a little easier at night knowing university employees won't be tracking them down on the taxpayer's dime.
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