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On our minds: Yogurt, gas stations, disease return

Gas prices at a Gulf Station in Brentwood

Gas prices at a Gulf Station in Brentwood on July 31, 2013. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Newsday's editorial board spends all week striving to be a reasoned and pragmatic voice for Long Island and its values through our editorials and columns. Here's a glimpse of other topics we tossed around the room this week.

Did you know? Soon, yogurt may become the official New York State snack.

Last week, the State Senate passed a bill that would do just that. Michael Ranzenhofer, who represents Rochester, sponsored the measure after he was lobbied by fourth-graders. The class project became a serious floor debate: One senator wondered whether the bill excluded lactose-intolerant New Yorkers and another suggested recognizing only low-fat yogurt, to promote healthy eating.

Late-night comedians have feasted on the 44-minute discussion. Deservedly so. The Senate spent 15 minutes longer on yogurt than on gun-control legislation last year.

We hope this taste of politics leads students to get involved with some of the more complicated issues facing the state when they get older.

Alarmed? 74 --That's the number of polio cases in the world so far in 2014. It may seem low but, frighteningly, this killer is on the move again.

The crippling disease has almost been vanquished. But instability and mistrust are obstructing vaccination campaigns. The virus has recently spread from Pakistan to Afghanistan, from Syria to Iraq, and from Nigeria to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. It would be a shame if the largest coordinated public health effort in world history were thwarted so close to the finish line.

Want this passed? If you've ever been stunned by a much higher price for gasoline purchased with a credit card rather than cash, Suffolk Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) feels your pain.

The legislature is scheduled to vote Tuesday on his bill that would require gas stations with a price difference of 5 percent or more to alert consumers before they fuel their cars. This is not about posting credit card prices on signs visible from the road. Much like ATMs that alert customers of a fee for using the machine, automated gas-pump displays would flag the price difference and prompt credit and debit card users before they continue with the purchase.

Nobody wants a costly surprise at the pump. But not every problem demands a law. Cash and credit card pump prices are routinely posted. That's fair warning.

Disagree? Suffolk County Legis. Jay Schneiderman wants to waive parking fees at county beaches on days when it's really hot. We don't think it's a hot idea: