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Commotion In The Capitol Over State Pie

United States Department of Agriculture

Lawmakers took a break from some of the more serious bills in the Illinois House to discuss a proposal that would designate an official state pie.

House Bill 208, which would make pumpkin pie the official state pie, passed on Thursday, but not without some lighthearted debate.

As legislators debated giving pumpkin pie the special designation, the dessert talk got so loud Rep. Al Riley had to ask them to quiet down.

The quiet didn't last long. Legislators like Republican Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights tossed in spoonfuls of puns.

"This legislation probably has some spice to it," he said. "It may need a little bit more time to bake, which they can do that over in the Senate, and it deserves an aye vote."

The sweet idea has serious reasoning behind it. Republican Rep. Keith Sommer, the bill's sponsor, says it could be an economic boost for Morton, home of Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie.

Illinois grows 95 percent of pumpkins processed in the United States.

Representative Ron Sandack, a Republican from Downers Grove, defended the legislation's merit.

"In all seriousness, this is a bill of economic development, it's important to the sponsor, it's important to the sponsor's district. It's a good bill," he said.

When voting opened, the board initially filled with red as lawmakers voted against it. But it was all in good fun and most -- but not all -- switched their vote to yes.

The measure easily passed, though three representatives voted against it.

Lisa Ryan is a graduate student in the public affairs reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She previously worked at Indiana Public Radio and the college radio station founded by David Letterman. She is a 2014 broadcast journalism and political science graduate of Ball State University.
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