State Senate Debated Bill For 45 Minutes Last Month

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York State drew one step closer Wednesday to making yogurt the official state snack, with the state Assembly endorsing the measure.

The Assembly voted 85-1 in favor of the special designation for yogurt on Wednesday. The legislation passed the Senate 52-8 last month and now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for consideration.

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The idea of making yogurt the state’s official snack came from a 4th grade class from western New York. But lawmakers have taken some heat for the proposal.

Last month, the state Senate debated on the issue for 45 minutes. First, Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, wanted to make sure by the bill’s author, Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Williamsville, had thought the proposal through.

“What exactly are we defining as a snack?” asked Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-The Bronx)
“I think it’s self-explanatory. I mean, you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then you have snacks,” said the bill’s Republican sponsor, Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

“Did you consider, say, the potato chip?” Rivera asked, posing the same question about raisins, pretzels, cashews and cheesecake. He then asked: “What if the pretzel was dipped in yogurt?”

Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, said she considered those who might be offended by naming yogurt the state snack — namely the lactose intolerant.

A brief discussion about soy yogurt then ensued. Krueger said that might offend the “taste buds of fourth-graders.”

“No one is compelled to eat particular kinds of yogurt,” he explained.

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Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, D-Queens, also made a last-second appeal that lawmakers consider the carrot cookie instead.

The Senate’s 45-minute debate on the bill was mocked by David Letterman on CBS’ “The Late Show,” and by Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”

According to the bill: “Yogurt is a healthy food that tastes great and is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium and magnesium, all nutrients that are an important part of a good diet. Yogurt is also an important economic driver across our state; in fact New York is now the number one processor of yogurt in the country.”

New York state is the nation’s top yogurt producer, making 741 million pounds of the dairy product last year, well above the 591 million produced by second-place California.

Cuomo has called New York the nation’s “yogurt capital.”

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