State Senate passes bill to put warning labels on sugary drinks

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SACRAMENTO — The state Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would require sugary drinks to have labels warning consumers about the risks of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, the Associated Press reports.

Senate Bill 347, which passed in a 21-11 vote, would apply to sodas and other drinks that have 75 calories of added sugar or more for every 12-fluid-ounce serving.

The bill would also require restaurants and retailers selling fountain drinks to exhibit warning signs in view of customers. After receiving an initial warning, non-compliant retailers would be fined up to $500 for each violation by the Department of Public Health.

The bill has encountered opposition from the beverage industry since it was introduced to the state Senate in February by Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel. According to the Associated Press, the American Beverage Association has poured more than $273,000 into lobbying efforts against the bill since January and claims that the proposed warning labels are misleading.

The Senate’s first vote on the bill came up four votes shy of the 21 needed to pass, according to the Associated Press. When Monning reintroduced the bill later in the day, it passed with 21 votes and no Republican support. Two Democrats and nine Republicans voted against the bill, and six senators abstained.

The next stop for SB 347 is the state Assembly. Though the bill collected the votes it needed to pass today, a similar bill introduced by Monning was defeated in 2017.

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