There were five proposed bills introduced last month that are aimed at trying to curb the consumption of sugary drinks such as soda. Assembly Bills 138, 764, 765, 766 and Senate Bill 347 were introduced as a package to help reduce diabetes, obesity and other health conditions related to the consumption of sugary drinks. The California Medical Association and the California Dental Association are supporting the five proposed bills. Assemblyman Rob Bonta, author of AB 764, stated the following regarding the proposed bills,
Drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages like sports drinks and energy drinks and sweet teas contribute to a number of very serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity. These conditions are disproportionately felt in low-income communities.
Here is what each proposed bill will do if passed:
- AB 138: a tax would be created for sugary drinks sold in the state and the revenue collected from that tax will be used to help fund programs to combat diabetes and other health conditions.
- SB 347: sugar-sweetened beverages will be mandated to contain a health warning label. However, beverages containing 100 percent natural fruit juice or natural vegetable juice with no added sweeteners will be excluded from the mandate.
- AB 764: soda companies would be prohibited from offering manufacturer’s coupons to partner bottlers, distributors or retailers.
- AB 765: the placement of sugar-sweetened drinks near checkout counters at retailers will be forbidden. Penalties will be given to stores that are in violation of this proposed law. The first violation would be $1,000 per day and up to $5,000 per day for third and subsequent violations.
- AB 766: the sale of unsealed sugar-sweetened beverages larger than 16 fluid ounces will be restricted at restaurants and other locations with self-service soda machines.
The proposed bills are being opposed by the beverage industry, which has vowed to definitely fight the sugary drink tax. We will have to wait and see if the proposed bills pass.