Illinois Trans Fat Ban Fails In State Senate, After Lawmakers Stand Up For Oreos
Lawmakers in the Illinois State Senate rejected a proposal to ban trans fats in many foods almost as emphatically as their colleagues in the House had passed the measure the month before.
House Bill 1600 failed by a vote of 40 to 13, after cruising through the House by a 73-43 margin.
Opposing senators, who the bill's supporters nicknamed the "doughnut caucus," struck the legislation down in part owing to their fondness for sweets. Senator Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), arguably the leader of the doughnuteers, testified on the Senate floor about his love of Oreo cookies.
Jacobs said that he preferred Oreos when they used to have trans fat -- Nabisco has removed hydrogenated oils from the cookie -- and that he didn't want Illinois becoming a "nanny state" and making those decisions about diet and health for him, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
As a matter of fact, the ban would have exempted packaged goods, and would also not have applied immediately to bakeries or school cafeterias, to give those institutions time to make the adjustment.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Senate "erupted in applause" when the bill failed.
But Senator Donne Trotter, the bill's sponsor in the Senate, who had pointed to the 30,000 trans fat-related deaths last year as a motivation behind the legislation, may have gotten the last laugh.
“Sen. Jacobs got his answer. He can still get his fat and live a good life,” Trotter (D-Chicago) said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "But as we know, Sen. Jacobs hasn’t missed too many meals. He hasn’t seen a doughnut he didn’t like.”