CA lawmakers consider bill to remove soda from kids menus

Posted at 5:17 PM, Aug 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-19 20:17:01-04

A proposed California bill to replace soda with milk and water on kids menus is one step closer to becoming law after clearing the assembly on Thursday.

Under Senate Bill 1192, California restaurants would be required to remove soda and juice on kids meals and replace it with unflavored milk or water.

The legislation was drafted as a way to curb childhood obesity, but many parents believe it’s up to them, not the state, to keep their kids healthy.

"That’s unacceptable," Malody Cervantes said. "That’s not their place to govern what the parents can legally give to their children."

Joanel Bernardo said she allows her children to have soda and juice on occasion.

"I think it really depends on the parent and what they choose to offer and not offer their kids, it’s a little bit of an overreach to decide that for them," Bernardo said.

SB 1192 creates penalties for restaurants that don’t swap out soda: a written notice for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for each additional violation.

"People eat and drink what they want," Bernardo said. "To fine a restaurant for letting a parent make that choice doesn’t make sense."

Mack Baaten, 12, said he doesn’t drink soda but he still believes mom and dad should make the call.

"I think it’s up to the parents of those children," Baaten said, though his mom isn’t opposed to the law.

"I understand where they’re coming from, we’re trying to beat obesity and improve the health of kids," she said.

The bill notes increases in childhood obesity nationwide: the bill notes that in 2015, nearly 14 percent of kids under age 5 diagnosed as overweight or obese and 16 percent of kids age 6 to 11 were also deemed overweight.

But some believe overall health depends on more than diet.

"It’s not just the nutrition factor, I feel like Americans have adopted more of a sedentary lifestyle," David Losbanez said.

None of the restaurants KSBY contacted Sunday were interested in commenting on the issue.

The bill now heads back to the Senate, which previously supported the measure.