ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ It was, like many political squabbles, a real can of worms.

And should it be legal for children to collect cans of worms for money?

The question kept state senators on the hook for a while Tuesday.

State Sen. Dale Volker and many of his Republican colleagues thought it was silly that only people older than 16 are allowed to collect night crawlers for a fee under New York state's labor laws. He proposed an amendment to change that.

But Democrats in the chamber objected to the move as a violation of laws protecting children.

One Democrat bolted party ranks, saying she thought that was a red herring. ''It's much akin to the lemonade stand. It's not child slavery,'' said Sen. Nancy Larraine Hoffmann.

Without enough votes to pass his motion, Volker put it back in the can.