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Santa Monica Representative’s Sugary Drink Tax Dies In Assembly

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Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Lookout Staff

May 14, 2015 -- A Santa Monica-area state lawmaker’s bill to add a 2-cent tax on sugary beverages to pay for health promotion programs has died in the Assembly.

The bill introduced April 28 by state Sen. Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, would have created the “Children’s and Family Health Promotion Program” to prevent and treat obesity, diabetes and heart and dental disease.

The former Santa Monica mayor’s proposal would have added an extra 2-cents-per-once charge on sugar-sweetened drinks, but the bill was defeated in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday on a 10-6 vote.

The proposal had support from a coalition of health organizations, including the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, the American Heart Association, and several other nonprofits.

Bloom said he drafted the bill because more needs to be done to counteract the marketing of sugary drinks to children by the beverage industry (Santa Monica Lawmaker Seeks Tax on Sugary Drinks, May 8, 2015).

“The beverage industry is marketing larger-sized bottles and fountain drinks,” Bloom said at a news conference last week announcing the bill. “They are using larger and larger cups, especially when marketing to children.”

Xavier Morales, executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, said Latinos suffer the long-term effects of sugary drinks more than other groups. Ten percent of Latinos age 20 and older suffer from diabetes, health officials said.

But opponents said Bloom’s bill unfairly singled out sugary beverages.

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