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Kan. House advances bill to block local efforts to curb consumption of junk food

March 29, 2016

Jim Mclean

March 18, 2016

Hays Post

The Kansas House on Thursday tentatively approved a bill to prohibit city, county and school district officials from adopting certain types of healthy food policies.

The bill — House Bill 2595 — would prevent local officials from restricting the sale of so-called junk food at restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers. It also would preclude policies that require businesses to provide consumers with more nutritional information about the food and drinks they sell.

The bill is scheduled for final action Friday.

The Kansas measure mirrors model legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a controversial organization that works with corporate executives and state lawmakers to develop business-friendly policies.

The bill is being pushed by Republicans seeking to build a firewall in Kansas against policies being implemented in other areas of the country to restrict the sale or require more extensive labeling of high-calorie foods and drinks. The cite former New York Mayor Micheal Bloomberg’s failed attempt to regulate the size of sugary drinks as an example.

Supporters also want to head off any effort to use zoning and licensing laws to limit where fast food restaurants can locate. They say Kansas needs a statewide policy to create a predictable environment for businesses.

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