NY lawmakers spend more time debating yogurt than gun law

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 mockery from David Lettermen and John Stewart left some lawmakers with a sour taste in their mouths.

The New York 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, the implications for lactose intolerant New Yorkers, and whether snacks like raisins or pretzels were more deserving.

Letterman and Stewart skewered the exchange on their shows, with Stewart calling the deliberations "maybe the best 40 minutes" of legislative debate ever. The bill now moves to the Assembly.

While the legislature took 45 minutes on the yogurt debate, it took them less than 30 minutes to debate the SAFE Act back in January 2013.

According to Syracuse.com, "the Senate did not debate the NY Safe Act on the floor. Instead, senators passed a message of necessity and moved straight to explaining their votes. It's a time when each senator can talk about why he or she is voting yea or nay, but not a time for debate about the changes to state laws. During the Safe Act vote, each member was limited to two minutes of comments."

The NY Safe Act has a number of provisions. It bans possession of any "high-capacity magazines" regardless of when they were made or sold. The maximum capacity for all magazines is 10 rounds. Ammunition dealers are also required to do background checks, similar to those for gun buyers. It also requires the creation of a registry of assault weapons.

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