A group of Minnesota House Democrats introduced a bill this week that would require restaurants to serve certain drinks as the “default beverage” for children’s meals.
The bill was introduced Tuesday by Reps. Jeff Brand (DFL-St. Peter), Samantha Vang (DFL-Brooklyn Center), and Rob Ecklund (DFL-International Falls).
Under the bill, all Minnesota restaurants would be required to make the “default beverage” included with children’s meals either water or sparkling water, unflavored milk, or a nondairy milk alternative that contains “no more than 130 calories” per serving.
The bill wouldn’t prohibit a customer’s ability to purchase “an alternative beverage instead of the default beverage offered with the children’s meal.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the state has a 10.4 percent obesity rate for youth ages 10-17, compared to the national 15.8 percent youth obesity rate. A 2019 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that Minnesota had the lowest childhood obesity rate in the nation.
“The Nanny State is at it again,” Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) said in response to the bill, which was referred to the Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Committee for a hearing.
Minnesota lawmakers returned to St. Paul Tuesday for the 2020 legislative session and more than 400 bills have been introduced already in the House.
The House’s first session kicked off with a debate about whether or not it should even meet this year after Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) motioned to adjourn until next session.
“That’s what Minnesotans are aware of. That’s what people around this place know. Nothing has to be accomplished this session but the question is: what are the risks? There are no budgets to pass, no policy that will be agreed upon by the Republican Senate and the Democrat governor and Democrat House. As such, we are only just wasting tens of thousands of dollars each and every day that this Legislature meets,” Drazkowski said. “If we don’t have anything we have to accomplish, we should go home and relieve them of what could be freedom-robbing and money-robbing activities of this Legislature.”
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