ALBANY – Whether you think of yogurt as a snack or not, and no matter how much fun Jon Stewart had poking fun at the notion last month on his comedy show, the State Legislature gave approval Wednesday to making the fermented milk product New York’s official snack.
After a lengthy State Senate debate in May provided ample fodder for Stewart as well as David Letterman’s sarcastic wit, the Assembly apparently learned a lesson: provide no video. Assembly members passed the yogurt bill with no debate.
The bill passed the Assembly, 85-1, and now goes to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has hosted a “yogurt summit,” so is likely inclined to approve the measure.
Still uncertain is the fate of the bill to make the wood frog the official amphibian of New York. That bill is stuck in committees in both houses. The other “official” movement – making the Herkimer diamond the official state mineral – has passed the State Senate but is stuck in committee in the Assembly.
The Senate yogurt debate featured such memorable moments as lawmakers asking why raisins couldn’t be considered the official snack. One lawmaker noted the many lactose-intolerant New Yorkers who might not be happy about yogurt as the official snack, which actually drew a response from State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst, the bill’s sponsor, that they could buy soy-based yogurt.
What about a yogurt-dipped pretzel? Absolutely not, said Ranzenhofer before, eventually, breaking down in laughter at the time being given during the floor debate last month.
If the bill is signed, yogurt would join a long list of officially designated things that lawmakers and governors have actually fought over during the years. The official insect is the ladybug. The official muffin is the apple muffin. The official fossil? Eurypterus remipes – a relative of the horseshoe crab.
After the Assembly’s passage, Ranzenhofer noted, as he did during the State Senate debate, that the idea was raised by a group of fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School in Genesee County.
“From initially suggesting the idea to traveling to the State Capitol this morning, these students deserve high marks for their efforts to get this legislation passed by both houses of the State Legislature,” Ranzenhofer said.