The House rejected a bill encouraging grocery stores to provide sanitizing wipes to customers to clean shopping cart handles.
Rep. Ed Jones, a Greensboro Democrat, said he filed the bill after learning that researchers determined shopping carts provided some of the most exposure to germs and were most risky for children under the age of six.
The legislation would have encouraged retailers to provide the wipes and instructed local health departments to promote their use.
The bill quickly drew derisive comments from House Republicans.
Rep. George Cleveland, a Jacksonville Republican, said the bill represented the "nanny state having fun."
"I think we're going to lead our society to the point where we're going to be so sterile, we'll all just have to live in a bubble," he said. "When I grew up, I think the saying was you had to eat a peck of dirt or you wouldn't be a healthy kid, and I believe that."
More after the jump.
To keep the debate from dragging on, House Speaker Joe Hackney instituted a 10-second rule on speakers.
Here are a few comments:
Rep. Bryan Holloway, Stokes County Republican: "What else are you going to touch in the store ... the money the cashier's touching? Maybe a telephone, maybe a seat. It could be endless what you might need a wipe for."
Rep. Cullie Tarleton, Blowing Rock Democrat: "In my previous life (as a TV news broadcaster) when we would do rating-sweeps series, we would choose subjects like the amount of germs on items ... and shopping cart handles was one. I can tell you, you would be amazed."
Rep. Alma Adams, Guilford County Democrat: "This is a serious issue. If you put your children in these carts, they're putting their hands on the carts, putting their hands in their mouths."
Rep. Tim Moore, Cleveland County Republican: "In two days, we've protected bats, clothes lines and now grocery carts. It's a good thing we don't have an economic crisis facing the state."
Rep. John Blust, Greensboro Republican: "Any consumer can take a wipe themselves ot the store. I'm wondering if Rep. Jones would allow an amendment to put a speed limit on the carts that you can push them down the aisle."
Rep. Cary Allred, Alamance County Republican: "We need to pass a law that requires people to wear rubber gloves when they go to the grocery store like we require people to wear helmets on the highway."
The bill failed 44-73 to applause from some representatives.