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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.

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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.

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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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