State Lawmakers Moving to Prohibit Local "Fat" Policies

The NY Times reported today that at least seven states have laws on their books prohibiting localities from adopting policies aimed at reducing obesity and improving public health. The most recent example is Ohio, where the budget bill just signed by Governor John Kasich limits local government control over restaurants.

Other states with laws pre-empting local governments are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia,Tennessee and Utah. Most of the laws address control over restaurants but in Arizona the legislature prohibited local government rules forbidding fast food restaurants from marketing using "consumer incentives" such as toys.

Despite the epidemic of obesity the nation faces, lawmakers are reacting to restaurants that complain about the difficulty of complying with a crazy quilt of local regulations. A new federal requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act addresses that concern and will require chains with 20 or more restaurants to list calories and fat content on menus by 2013. However, estimates are that this new law will cover only about half the nation's restaurants.

Read the NY Times article here.