Grassroots Change
facebook twitter instagram

News & Media

Media Spotlight

Fizzled Out: How Big Soda uses crafty legislation to defeat taxes on sugary drinks.

July 2018

Grub Street,

,

July 5, 2018-

On Sunday, lawmakers in California voted on Senate Bill 872, a piece of legislature that included, among other things, a move to bar any new local soda taxes until the year 2031. If the move seems strikingly counterintuitive and goes against everything we thought we knew about California, don’t worry, it’s not just you. Thanks to an unusual strategy, the bill became bona fide law four days later. So, what happened?

Officials who support sugary-drink levies admitted that they had little choice but to pass the bill, which effectively puts a 12-year moratorium on perhaps the biggest threat to Big Soda’s profits, in the state that developed the most robust anti-soda policies in the country. All Coca-Cola and Pepsi needed to win the most decisive victory yet in the soda tax wars was a hundred days and a few million dollars. Considering the outcome and billion-dollar profits, the maneuver cost the beverage industry basically nothing.

In theory, the tactic could conceivably extend to every other state, says Mark Pertschuk, director of Grassroots Change. Pertschuk fought Big Tobacco in the ’80s, when the combined forces of corporate nicotine titans tried preemption as a means to defeat smoke-free policies in cities. This is “a page right out of their playbook,” he says.

“If California, a progressive state and the biggest in the Union, can’t resist the soda industry’s millions, why would one in the middle of the country say no?” says Pertschuk. “It just shows complete weakness by elected officials regardless of party.”

 “California did it, they’ll argue,” he says. “Why shouldn’t a more reasonable state pass this, too?”

Read the post

Media Spotlight Archive

Blog

State Preemption Map

The Preemption Watch Preemption Map tracks state preemption of eight major public health and safety issues. Click on any one of the eight issues to see which states preempt local control. Click on your state to see whether local authority has been preserved or preempted across the eight issues. Discrimination: …

Interview: Beth Waitkus & the Insight Garden Program Part 2

For this two-part series, Grassroots Change interviewed Beth Waitkus, Founder and Executive Director of the Insight Garden Program, which works to transform prisoners’ lives through a connection to nature and hands-on gardening programs in prisons. During the past 15 years, the Insight Garden Program has expanded across California, to two …

Interview: Beth Waitkus & the Insight Garden Program

Part 1: Vision, challenges, and successes  After 9/11, when someone asked me if I would grow a garden in San Quentin, I realized this was an opportunity to integrate my passion for environmental and social justice and an opportunity to find my faith in humanity again. Over the past 15 …

Read Blog

News

Gun rights advocates: New gun safety agenda proof of slippery slope

MY Northwest, Hanna Scott, December 10, 2018- On the heels of their win with the passage of gun safety measure I-1639, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility released its 2019 legislative priorities last week. “This is the most robust agenda we’ve ever proposed,” said Tallman Trask with the alliance. “Usually, we have a …

Editorial: While real problems fester, lawmakers get in cities’ way

The Columbus Dispatch, Editorial, December 10, 2018- If only Ohio lawmakers were as interested in addressing the state’s many challenges as they are in interfering with local communities’ efforts to solve their own problems, the Statehouse might not be the bastion of backwardness it has become under all-Republican rule. Now …

Read News