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Mississippi bill would ban drink limits

JACKSON, Miss., March 13 (UPI) — The Mississippi Senate passed a bill that would block efforts to ban the sale of large sugary drinks, the opposite of a law that was blocked in New York City.

On a 50-1 vote Monday, Mississippi lawmakers passed the legislation known as the “Anti-Bloomberg” bill because of an initiative to ban super-sized drinks in New York is supported by the city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, CNN reported Tuesday.

“We believe there’s enough regulation,” said Mississippi state Sen. Tony Smith, the bill’s sponsor and a restaurant owner.

A judge Monday blocked New York’s effort to ban the giant-size sugary drinks, saying the City Council should have voted on the idea. Bloomberg’s anti-obesity initiative was to have been effective Tuesday.

In Jackson, the office of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said the proposal was being reviewed. The bill had passed the Mississippi House on a 92-26 vote.

If Bryant signs the bill into law, it would prevent Mississippi counties, districts and towns from banning food based on nutritional information and bar them from enacting rules that would limit portion sizes, CNN said.

“I am glad that it has happened. It’s a step forward in the right direction to make sure that any future policy discussion be centralized at the state Legislature,” said Mike Cashion, executive director of the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, which lobbied for the legislation.

“It doesn’t prevent local government from promoting healthy foods. What it does do is prevent them from creating policy mandates for the sake of consistency and uniformity,” he said.

A Trust for America’s Health-Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report indicated Mississippi had the nation’s highest rate of obesity, CNN said. The report indicated nearly 35 percent of the state’s adult population was obese.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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