Wis. legislator moves to end margarine law

MADISON, Wis., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Wisconsin legislators are attempting to put an end to state margarine restricts, sparking a debate over the government's role in the dairy industry.

By law, Wisconsin restaurants are not allowed to serve colored margarine on tables unless a customer makes a special request, USA Today reported Monday.


Likewise, state prisons cannot serve inmates margarine unless they are vegan or have a special health concern that prompts them to request it.

"Most people see this as a classic case of big government," said Republican state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, who introduced in September a bill that would repeal the margarine laws. "And creating regulation that doesn't make sense."

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Some people in the Dairy State say the bill is harmful to the dairy industry.

"It's a bill that's misguided," said Brad Legreid, executive director of the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association. "It shows a total lack of support for Wisconsin's dairy industry."

Legreid said a similar bill was introduced in 1996 but died in Legislature.

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Republican state Rep. Lee Nerison, chairman of the Assembly's agriculture committee, said he cannot imagine Kooyenga's bill gaining much support.

"I think we need to take a real close look at it, see if we really want to open up that can of worms," he said.


Yet, Kooyenga said although he is unsure if the bill will gain traction, it at least starts a dialogue about the role of government.

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"Our laws should mean something," he said. "When you have laws on the books like this that tell everyone that you are a criminal [for serving margarine], it really means that people don't respect our laws anymore."

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