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MOUNTAIN LIONS.JPGLet the defrosting begin.

A dead mountain lion has been sitting in a freezer for some three years as officials at a Kern County museum have tried to get permission to display it.

Trouble was, voters approved a ballot measure back in 1990 to protect the lions, which required that dead critters be given to the Department of Fish and Game.

Officials at the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest wanted to use the lion in an exhibit and stored the carcass in a freezer while petitioning for the department's OK.

Their quest is finally over. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 769, by Republican Sen. Jean Fuller of Bakersfield, to let museums and other nonprofits display dead mountain lions.

The bill amends a ballot initiative, so it needed a four-fifths vote. That's far more than the two-thirds vote needed for a tax increase.

Brown's signing message Friday made note that legislators reached across the aisle on this issue, but not others.

"This presumably important bill earned overwhelming support by both Republicans and Democrats," he wrote, then lamented, "If only that same energetic bipartisan spirit could be applied to creating clean energy jobs and ending tax laws that send jobs out of state."

The governor has issued not one, but two legislative updates so far today, signing 25 bills, including many dealing with seniors and veterans issues, and vetoing two others.

Click here and also here to see the two lists of bills.

Look here to see The Bee's gallery of key bills on Brown's desk.

PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Fitzharris/Minden Pictures


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