The Lead

Pa. students who lobbied to make the Hershey’s Kiss the official state candy see progress in Harrisburg

By: - April 6, 2022 11:32 am

(Getty Images)

What started as a classroom project to learn about the legislative process is making its way through the Republican-controlled General Assembly, with a Senate committee advancing a proposal to declare the Hershey’s Kiss Pennsylvania’s official candy.

The 11-member Senate State Government Committee voted 10-1 to send a bill authored by Sen. Maria Collett, D-Montgomery, to the full chamber for consideration. The three-page bill touts the Hershey Company’s Pennsylvania roots and the candy’s distinctive shape.

“It’s evident that Hershey Kisses have a deep influence on the story of the commonwealth,” Collett said. “That’s why it’s only fitting that this sweet treat becomes our official state candy.”

A group of high school students from Bucks County, who lobbied lawmakers to designate the Hershey’s Kiss as the state’s official candy, stand during a Senate State Government Committee hearing on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Screenshot)

Collett’s proposal is a companion to legislation introduced last year by Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Dauphin, after a lobbying push from a group of Bucks County students who started the project in middle school. The group has since moved on to high school but attended the committee meeting to watch Wednesday’s vote.

“They are the true crafters and champions of this legislation,” Collett said, outlining their research and lobbying efforts. “It’s heartwarming and inspiring to see young Pennsylvanians actively participating in our legislative process, especially at a time when we need civics education more than ever.”

Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, was the only lawmaker on the panel to oppose the bill, saying that he represents three chocolatiers and wants to continue discussions on what Pennsylvania’s official candy should be.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, supported Collet’s proposal, and she advocated for the York Peppermint Pattie as a runner-up.

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Marley Parish
Marley Parish

A Pennsylvania native, Marley Parish covers the Senate for the Capital-Star. She previously reported on government, education and community issues for the Centre Daily Times and has a background in writing, editing and design. A graduate of Allegheny College, Marley served as editor of the campus newspaper, where she also covered everything from student government to college sports.

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