Sacramento is already experiencing pushback in its newest battle against soda and sugary drinks. One of the five proposed bills that would have banned stores and restaurants from selling unsealed sugary drinks in quantities larger than 16 ounces was shelved last Tuesday. The remaining four bills, which focus on marketing, a soda tax, checkout placement, and label warnings, have been introduced in the Assembly and the Senate.
Assembly bills 764 and 138, which would regulate marketing practices and tax distributors of sugary drinks, respectively, were presented in the Assembly Health Committee on April 9. Since then, both bills have been read and amended a second time. “As a matter of first policy discussion, I felt it was important to support both, to continue the needed dialogue about desired health outcomes in California,” said Assemblymember Monique Limón. “These bills must still go through four to five additional hearings, and my final vote is slated to take place in September.” AB 765, which would ban sugary drinks from being placed in checkout areas, has undergone its second reading. AB 766, intended to regulate unsealed sugary drink size, was shelved and will be introduced at a later date next year. Senate Bill 347, to include safety warnings on sugar-sweetened drinks, was introduced April 8 and is being held on the suspense file.
None of the bills have come before Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, but she is generally supportive. “I look forward to analyzing this legislation when it comes before me and applaud efforts to promote healthy habits among our youth and our communities,” she said.