Miss. Approves 'Anti-Bloomberg' Law on Portion Limits

Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 02:36 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Mississippi lawmakers have approved a so-called “anti-Bloomberg” bill that bans communities from requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on their menu listings or limit serving sizes.

The bill, in a state reportedly rated as the most obese in the United States, also forbids any local rules that ban toys from being included with kids' meals, reports the New York Daily News.

The legislation was penned by state Sen. Tony Smith, who owns the Stonewall's barbecue chain. He said he wrote it because he doesn't believe government officials should be not telling people what they should eat.

"If we give government a little more control of our personal rights, where does it stop?" he said.

According to the Daily News, Smith was spurred into action by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on supersize soft drinks. He said the mayor's action, while intended to promote better health, doesn't make sense because customers will figure out how to supersize their drinks, anyway.

Smith's bill was approved by the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. Its proponents argued that only the state, not local authorities, has the authority to set nutritional guidelines.

But Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson, who heads the Mississippi Municipal League, challenged that view.

“We are still one of the most obese states in the nation and I think it's our job to help educate the public," he told the Daily News.

But Johnson agreed that Bloomberg's ban did go a step too far, saying he firmly believes in personal choice.

"Secondhand smoke is a danger to other people," he said. "People drinking a Big Gulp are only a danger to themselves."

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