5 bills target consumption of sugary drinks

SodaThe California Legislature’s determination to lessen the amount of sugary drinks consumed by state residents may never have been greater than now – at least if the metric used is the number of bills introduced. This session, five will be taken up, and more may be on the way.

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For the third time, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, has introduce a measure that would tax soda and other beverages sweetened with sugar.

The first two times, Bloom’s measure didn’t get out of committee after it faced intense, well-funded opposition from the American Beverage Association.

But Bloom told his hometown paper, the Santa Monica Daily Press, that the tax was urgently needed to nudge people to stop consuming so many unhealthy drinks.

“Everyone would acknowledge that health care costs are skyrocketing,” he said. “Diabetes and obesity are ongoing health-care crises and we need to get serious about prevention.”

Revenue from the tax – which has not been established yet but which was 2 cents per ounce in Bloom’s previous bills – would pay for programs meant to reduce diabetes and obesity. Bloom said 9 percent of state residents are diabetic and nearly half are at risk of developing diabetes.

Measure would ban Big Gulp-size sodas

Bloom’s bill will have plenty of similar company this year.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, proposes a ban on soda servings of larger than 16 ounces in seal-able cups sold at restaurants and grocery stores. A similar ban in New York City was thrown out by New York state courts – but not for a reason that has relevance in California. Judges repeatedly held that the New York City’s health board overstepped its powers in imposing the ban and should have deferred to the New York state Legislature.

Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, hopes to end the common practice of displaying sodas near the checkout stands of food, convenience and other retail stores.

Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, is for the fourth time proposing that sugary drinks sold in California have labels warning of their health risks. Monning said if tobacco products’ health risks are made plain with warning labels, so should the risks of soda.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, is touting a bill intended to prevent beverage companies from offering stores special deals with lower prices for sugary drinks.

Studies split on effect of Berkeley soda tax

Soda foes got good news on Feb. 21 when the American Journal of Public Health published a study saying that soda consumption plunged 52 percent in Berkeley in the first three years after the city adopted a soda tax.

But other research into Berkeley’s soda tax is far less encouraging, according to University of Southern California professor Michael Thom. He told the Santa Monica newspaper there was no evidence that residents reduced their caloric or sugar consumption and asserted there is little, if any, proof that soda taxes have a positive effect on human health.

A Harvard Business Review study based on an analysis of millions of transactions at California stores by Duke University professors Bryan Bollinger and Steven Sexton was also skeptical of claims of success in Berkeley. Published in January 2018, it noted that since most residents worked outside of Berkeley, they could readily buy cheaper soda elsewhere. The study also pointed to a factor not mentioned in any recent newspaper coverage of soda taxes:

“We found that much of the cost of the tax is not being passed along to consumers,” Bollinger and Sexton wrote. “Fewer than half of supermarkets changed the price of soda in response to the tax, and prices at chain drug stores did not change at all.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com


  1. Don’t know about the rest of you but I have had more than enough of the government telling us what to eat, drink and think according to what they call politically correct idealism.
    Another Socialistic law to both take away freedom of choice and raise taxes to give them even more money to steal , squander and use against the people of the once ( and never to be again ) great state of California

  2. The nanny state strikes again. Where does the state get the right to tell us what we can drink. For that matter where does the state get the right to tell what we can eat or do most of the time? Where does the state get the right to tell us we have to have a special license to work at so many jobs or when we can serve drinks? Where does the state get the right to do most of what the state does?

    • This is why they are so hot to grab our firearms. They know they are impeding on personal freedoms and that eventually we will either fold or fight back. I gather they are eliminating our ability to effectively fight back.

      • Bogiewheel says

        Dustain:………Good point. During WW II the Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto declined to invade the West Coast. (This quote was attributed to him): Because, “there was a gun behind every blade of grass” The
        Admiral was a graduate of Harvard in 1921. Yamamoto traveled extensively in the United States during his tour of duty there, where he studied American customs and business practices. He was well versed in our 2nd Amendment.

  3. Why dont they focus on banishing IV drug use? Effing idiots!!!!

  4. JLSeagull says

    Actually they are missing an almost sure thing to reduce obesity, particularly among children and teens. They should introduce legislation to limit computer time among the younger set to one hour per day. Get them off their butts and out of their chairs and play outside in the traffic.

  5. SHANE CONWAY says

    Are you going to slap consumption of marijuana with taxes to be spent on health issues, too?

    • showandtell says

      No kidding, you mean like the high incidence of schizophrenia in young adults, psychosis from high THC concentration, increased rate of heart attacks, increased rate of lung cancer, poisoning from black market marijuana sprayed with banned insecticides… just to name a few?

    • Bogiewheel says

      Shane: ……Look what has transpired when the State entered the marijuana business and tried to compete in the free market.

  6. judgeroybean says

    How much sugar free citizens choose to consume is none of the government’s business. If this is what the government spends time on, the state can afford to do away with a lot of government. May I suggest a Part Time legislature that only meets 90 days a year?

  7. The only thing stronger with this group than The Crazy, is The Stupid!

  8. These folks need to tax whatever kool aid it is they’re drinking. The California Legislature long ago quit governing and began dictating.

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