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1990s / 1999 Tennessee Roadkill Bill
In March 1999 Tennessee's state legislature became the butt of jokes for debating a so-called 'Roadkill Bill.' The intent of the bill was to make animals killed on the state's highways the property of anyone who wanted the mangled carcasses, presumably for a meal. The bill stated, 'Wild animals accidentally killed by a motor vehicle may be possessed by any person for personal use and consumption.' Wrote one aghast New York Times columnist, 'In other words, it would be legal to eat roadkill. Legal to eat the thousands of squirrels, opossums, raccoons and rabbits that meet a painfully horizontal death every year beneath rubber tires. As if a state law were preventing anyone from scraping a happy meal off the asphalt. As if anyone would even dream of it.' In one of his Tonight Show monologues, Jay Leno comically suggested Tennessee's state motto ought to be changed to 'Fender-Licking Good.'