JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – No one’s trying to take away supertanker-sized soda drinks in Mississippi, but state lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to make sure they never do.
House Bill 1182 would prohibit counties and cities from creating food regulations such as requiring nutritional labeling at restaurants, banning junk foods and keeping toys out of meals.
Food regulations that promote healthful eating have gained traction in cities like New York. There, Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced regulations capping soda sizes and requiring chain restaurants to display calorie information on menus.
Rep. Gregory Holloway, D-Hazlehurst, said during a House debate Wednesday that he doesn’t want municipalities making food regulations “willy nilly.”
“If you want to go eat 20 Big Macs, you can eat 20 Big Macs,” Holloway said.
Rep. Omeria Scott, D-Laurel, opposed the bill, saying local governments should have the freedom to try new approaches to fight obesity.
“Given that Mississippi is the fattest and most unhealthy state in the USA, I don’t think we should take a tool away from them if they should choose to use it,” Scott said.
Heather McTeer Toney, former mayor of Greenville, told The Associated Press that the bill takes away communities’ ability to tackle health problems.
“This is not indicative of what the people of Mississippi want,” she said in a phone interview.
At a Chick-fil-A in downtown Jackson on Wednesday, customer Shelton Gates said he likes nutrition labeling on menus.
“I would agree with it being mandatory,” Gates said. “I don’t think it would hurt to know to make sure I don’t stray too far off course.”
Rita Kelly, a homemaker from Natchez also eating at the restaurant, said she would appreciate the labeling but wouldn’t support local governments regulating soft drink sizes.
“I drink water so it wouldn’t be a problem for me, but I don’t think it would be right to do that,” Kelly said.
The bill would still allow the state to impose new regulations. But given the hearty reception House members gave to a speech by Rep. Jerry Turner, that doesn’t seem likely the near future.
“This is all about free enterprise, the state of Mississippi and people being able to make a choice in their own life,” said Turner, R-Baldwyn.
The Senate on Wednesday passed a similar measure, Senate Bill 2687, to prevent local laws requiring food labeling.
The two chambers will exchange bills and must agree on a single version before anything could go to the governor.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food