Health advocates are expressing frustration after a bill that would have required warning labels on sugary drinks died in Sacramento.
The state's Senate Health Committee voted 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon, but the bill needed five votes to advance. In addition to the five senators who voted, another four were present in the hearing room but did not vote.
"This is really a tragedy for California," said Harold Goldstein, executive director for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, sponsor of SB203. Last year a similar bill made it through the Senate before stalling in the Assembly.
Along with many doctors, Goldstein says sugary drinks are a major driver of obesity and diabetes. The bill called for a label on most drinks with more than 75 calories per 12-ounce serving. This would include regular soda drinks. (Diet drinks were not covered, since they have no sugar and very few, if any, calories.)
The proposed label said: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”