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The message is clear: Never again should a California Happy Cows commercial be filmed in New Zealand.

The Assembly voted Monday to require that California state agencies, commissions or departments shoot commercials inside the Golden State if they are promoting California products with public funds.

Assemblyman Ted Lieu proposed the bill, Assembly Bill 1778, after the California Milk Advisory Board sent a production crew to New Zealand to film 10 commercials that claim California cows are happy.

On the Assembly floor Monday, Lieu, a Torrance Democrat, said such promotional funds "should be spent in California to employ California workers, support the economy and provide jobs."

A legislative committee analysis of AB 1778 said the California Milk Advisory Board contended the filming was a "minor portion of production" and that any cows identified as Californian were, indeed, California cows.

The milk advisory board said the New Zealand filming depicted unhappy cows from all over the world auditioning to become California cows, according to the legislative analysis.

The dairy industry also has said publicly that it saved money by shooting abroad, the analysis said.

AB 1778 is sponsored by the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council and has no formal opposition. The bill passed the Assembly by the bare-minimum number of votes required, 41-13, with no GOP support. It now goes to the Senate.

VIDEO: One of the Happy Cows commercials filmed by the California Milk Advisory Board.


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