Legislation proposed by local students and sponsored by State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Carlinville) to make sweet corn the official state vegetable of Illinois was passed by the Senate April 23, while the students watched from the Senate Gallery.
Senate Bill 800 was initially proposed by Jodi Acree’s 4th-grade class at Chatham Elementary School.
“It’s amazing that these young minds are so engaged in state government to actually propose legislation, then come to the Capitol to watch the process of getting it passed,” said Sen. McCann. “I’ve always said that the world is run by those who show up. These kids are showing up early.”
Senate Bill 800 passed unanimously after debate on the floor about whether sweet corn is truly a vegetable.
“According to information from the United States Department of Agriculture, corn is grain, a vegetable, and a fruit, depending on whether you are looking at the seed, the plant, or how it is eaten,” said Sen. McCann. “I feel confident in saying that sweet corn more than qualifies to be the state vegetable.”
“We grow a lot of it in Illinois and it’s a big part of our economy,” said 4th-grader Jake Herrin. “It’s pretty cool to do this, I don’t think we’’ll probably ever be able to do this again. Best part so far is coming here to see this.”
Acree and the other Chatham 4t- grade teachers brought five classes of students to the Capitol to witness the bill’s passage.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s not that often that you get to help make a law with your students,” said Acree. “This is real-life learning. No text book can teach what these kids are learning today.”