Legislation to make Myakka fine sand Florida's official state soil cleared the Senate, but not before senior members "sandbagged" the bill and threw some verbal dirt at its sponsor.

It was all in good fun, however, and part of an initiation rite of sorts for new lawmakers when a vote is taken on their first bill. When the laughter died down Thursday, Sen. Sherry Walker's bill was passed unanimously and sent to the House.As Sen. Larry Plummer rose to question whether south Florida was included in the legislation, the funeral home operator noted, "Everyone knows in my business I'm an expert on dirt."

Sen. Peter Weinstein called a halt to the fun and moved for a vote on the measure, saying, "It appears to me the members of the Senate are trying to sandbag this bill."

If it receives House approval, Maykka sand will take its place alongside the moonstone as Florida's official gem, the Florida panther as the state animal, the mockingbird as the state bird and orange juice as the official beverage.