Senate President Karen Fann was dumbfounded.
A bill to dub lemonade the official state drink of Arizona, the brainchild of a Gilbert teenager in GOP Rep. Warren Petersen’s legislative district, was about to fail a vote in the state senate.
“Members, does anyone want to change their vote before I close the board? I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not,” the Prescott Republican asked her colleagues.
They were very serious.
The bill failed today on a 12-18 vote to lighthearted applause and laughter among senators. As for why, the explanations varied.
“A lot of, I guess, the ‘opposition’ was in support of margaritas,” said Senate Minority Leader Rick Gray, R-Sun City, a callback to attempts by some Democratic lawmakers to amend Petersen’s HB 2692 in honor of an alcoholic beverage.
Not exactly, said Minority Leader David Bradley, D-Tucson.
“I heard that rumor as well, but actually Sen. Gray brought up a good point about sugary drinks and its effects on people,” Bradley said. “If you take it seriously, and you should, water should be the choice.”
Gray did acknowledge that’s why he voted against the bill – he was one of five Republicans to do so.
“Sugar is as harmful as tobacco, and yet it’s flagrant in our society, flagrant in lemonade,” Gray said. “For me, it was just a health issue.
So which was it?
“I don’t have an answer that can explain why every person voted no. But upon reflection, I think maybe the silliness of it was part of it,” Bradley said.