Statewide Soda Tax Bill Dead for the Year

 (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers' eighth attempt in six years to change Californians' sugar habits has stalled in the state Legislature.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica put the brakes on his latest proposal for a soda tax before lawmakers on a health panel had a chance to vote it down Tuesday.

AB2782 would have imposed a 2-cent-per-ounce fee on sugary drinks. The money would have benefited clinics that address obesity, diabetes and oral health.

Spokesman Sean MacNeil says Bloom did not have enough support from members of the Assembly Health Committee to ensure the bill's passage.

MacNeil says there are no plans to amend or revive the measure.

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The Sacramento Bee reports that supporters of the tax have faced heavy opposition from the beverage industry:

The California Nevada Beverage Association, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have spent at least $413,000 on lobbying since the start of 2015, according to records filed with the California secretary of state. The industry spent nearly $500,000 on campaign contributions during the last election cycle.

The California Chamber of Commerce also attacked AB 2782 on the grounds that it “threatens jobs in the beverage, retail and restaurant industries,” joining the California Restaurant Association in criticizing the bill.

Meanwhile, California cities are pressing ahead. In 2014, Berkeley became the first city in the country to pass a soda tax. San Francisco and Oakland are moving toward putting a soda tax on their November ballots.

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Philadelphia's mayor has proposed a three-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages.

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