Is yogurt worth arguing over?
Is yogurt worth arguing over?
Lexile

The New York Senate's debate about declaring yogurt the state's official snack was intended to teach a fourth-grade class about government. But it became a lesson on legislative silliness from David Lettermen and Jon Stewart.

The Senate spent 45 minutes this week debating the merits of the legislation, which was introduced at the urging of students from a dairy-producing area in western New York.

Before passing the bill, senators mulled the distinction between snacks and meals and whether other snacks were more deserving.

"What exactly are we defining as a snack?" asked Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat from 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 and pretzels. He then asked: "What if the pretzel was dipped in yogurt?"

Letterman and Stewart skewered the exchange on their shows, with Letterman playing video from the debate as part of a segment called "New York State: Your Tax Dollars at Work."

Stewart called the deliberations "maybe the best 40 minutes" of legislative debate ever.

"Even the fourth graders who brought this up in the first place are like, 'They're still talking about the state snack?'" Stewart said.

Some of the frivolity was staged as a parliamentary protest.

Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan, wrote on Facebook that she asked silly questions including one about the bill's implications for lactose-intolerant New Yorkers to criticize the priorities of Senate leaders. If Senate leaders "make us talk about yogurt, then that's what we'll talk about until they give us something better to do," she wrote.

New York is America's largest yogurt producer. Genesee County, home to the elementary students who suggested the bill, is home to dairy farms and yogurt plants that employ hundreds.

"We're a dairy farming community, and there's huge pride in that," said Casey Kosiorek, the local superintendent of schools. "This has been a chance for some true authentic learning."

Ranzenhofer, of Amherst, took the ribbing in stride.

"I'm sure every employee at the yogurt plant is gratified to see the attention," he said. "Even if it's at my expense."

There's no word on when the state Assembly may take up the bill.

Other states with official state snacks include Texas (chips and salsa), Illinois (popcorn) and South Carolina (boiled peanuts).

Critical thinking challenge: How did the debate over yogurt demonstrate how government works?

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COMMENTS (64)
  • richardb-Wel
    5/11/2014 - 07:55 p.m.

    I see the point of weather to consider it as a meal or a snack. And I dont think it should be because there are many lactose and tolerant citizens so do u have to force onto them this is our state snack and many dont like yogurt so did they think of that

  • beacommo22
    5/12/2014 - 11:40 a.m.

    Why argue over yogurt? It is good for you. I think people make it a big deal. I like yogurt. This is what I think.

  • jenniferquezada
    5/12/2014 - 01:58 p.m.

    Why are they arguing about yogurt? Maybe thier trying to see if yogurt is a snack or not or maybe because yogurt is popular in New York

  • jadalawson
    5/12/2014 - 02:02 p.m.

    I think this is truly ridiculous. Yogurt is just a snack. Does it really matter whether it is a state snack or not? Is it really that important?

  • robertrkelly
    5/12/2014 - 02:12 p.m.

    I think that yogurt is not worth arguing over. Yogurt is something to eat who would ever get mad about yogurt. Maybe some people may get mad over yogurt but not me.

  • jerakkt
    5/12/2014 - 02:31 p.m.

    thats wierd that it is yogourt i hate yougart its so so so so so nasty and i hate it so much with the chunkas in it

    • keylanmurry
      5/12/2014 - 03:00 p.m.

      Well, about your comment, I am just going to say what came to my mind just looking at your comment, it just changes my thoughts about the world. Nice grammar.

    • keylanmurry
      5/12/2014 - 03:06 p.m.

      It is weird that its yogurt. I hate yogurt it so, so, so nasty! I hate the ones with the chunks in it. Excellent grammar, keep up the good work.

  • keylanmurry
    5/12/2014 - 02:49 p.m.

    Yes, yogurt is worth debating. hIf you let yogurt go away, half the kids are not getting enough dairy. Thats how most people get extra dairy, including myself.

  • raegannestell
    5/12/2014 - 02:49 p.m.

    I think yogurt is worth arguing over. Me and my siblings always argue over who gets the last one, then my dad eats it... I never get the last one.

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