Senate passes bill to make roasting chile state aroma

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SANTA FE, N.M. – State lawmakers in Santa Fe passed a bill that would declare the smell of roasting chile as the official state aroma.

Las Cruces state Sen. Bill Soules’ proposal cleared the Senate floor Saturday afternoon with bipartisan support. 

Soules asked a few elementary school students to testify during the debate. They were his “expert witnesses” and for a good reason.

“When we were there on a day for enrichment, and I was trying to engage the students, so I started asking about how much they knew of the official symbols of New Mexico. And when it got to talking about the official question of red or green, and one of the students had yelled out ‘Oh I love the smell of chili roasting.’ And from that, it kind of morphed into I’d sort of thought about it in the past, but it’s like, I’ve got a group of kids here that we can actually do this, and they’ll learn about the process. But it actually is a very good thing for New Mexico as well,” said Soules. 

If approved, New Mexico would become the first state to have an official state aroma.

Senate Bill 188 now heads over to the House where it will have to clear committees and another floor vote before reaching the governor’s desk. But time is running out with only three weeks left in the legislative session.

Track SB 188 during the legislative session.