The proposed statewide prohibition on beverages larger than 16 fluid ounces was quietly pulled before its first vote in the state assembly yesterday.
The bill gained heavy opposition from the Chamber of Commerce, along with the beverage and restaurant industries. Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said his bill needed more dialogue before a final vote in the Health committee. He promised to continue the fight against sugary beverages, however, next year with a revised version of the bill.
The bill, AB 766, specifically targeted unsealed beverages, found at convenience stores and fast-food chains, and proposed fines reaching $1,000 on retailers who violate the statute by selling these beverages. It was announced as part of a five-pack of bills against sweetened beverages like sodas, sports drinks and sugary teas. The other bills are still active and, if signed into law, would tax the beverages, remove them from checkout aisles, ban coupons for them and add warning labels.
Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, announced on Tuesday that his related bill on taxing sugary beverages had passed its first committee, saying in a statement: “We have witnessed the lengths that the industry will go to in order to profit at the expense of consumers.”
Over the last two years, the beverage industry has spent nearly $12 million fighting initiatives in California like these, according the Los Angeles Times.