11565252 story Wisconsin Designates State Microbe 102 Posted by samzenpus on Monday April 19, 2010 @09:24AM from the the-fighting-parameciums dept. Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that state legislators in Wisconsin raced against the clock to pass a bill designating Lactococcus lactis as Wisconsin's official state microbe. 'The first time I heard the idea, I thought, I've got more important things to do than spending my time honoring a microbe,' says Gary Hebl, a Democratic state representative who proposed the bill which, he says, would make Wisconsin the first state in the nation to grant such a designation, 'but this microbe is really a very hard worker,' added Hebl, referring to the bacterium supported by the Department of Bacteriology at UW — Madison used to make cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack cheese. The proposal faced only one detractor in committee ('the opponent was clearly lactose-intolerant,' says Hebl), and there was no sign of a last-minute campaign from other bacteria, so by evening, the Assembly had approved the measure, 56 to 41. In case there were any doubts about Wisconsin's priorities, a separate bill also awaits consideration in Madison, declaring cheese Wisconsin's state snack."