By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

With only two nay votes, the Kansas Senate approved a measure naming the little bluestem as the state grass.

Because it has already passed the House, the bill will now go to Gov. Mark Parkinson for his signature.

Action in the Senate came as something of a surprise, as the bill had been placed on hold. It came up Wednesday for a vote and was overwhelmingly approved. Only Sens. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, and Bob Marshall, R-Fort Scott, voted against the measure. Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, passed on the vote.

In public debate, no one has argued against little bluestem. In fact, legislators have suggested instead that big bluestem, found in eastern Kansa,s and buffalo, found in western Kansas, get the designation instead.

Little bluestem is found throughout the state.

If signed into law, little bluestem will join other symbols, the last one added in 1984. The symbols include the western meadowlark as the state bird, the native sunflower as the state flower, the bison as the state animal, the cottonwood as the state tree, the barred tiger salamander as the state amphibian, the honeybee as the state insect and the ornate box turtle as the state reptile.