'Big Gulp bill' headed for Senate vote

Posted June 27, 2013

— A bill banning local governments from limiting the size of soft drinks is likely to win Senate approval next week after passing the Senate Judiciary 1 Committee Thursday morning. 

House Bill 683, the "Commonsense Consumption Act," is a model bill from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a free-market pro-business group.

The bill would rule out any local ordinances limiting soft drink sizes, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently tried to do. The New York City ordinance is currently tied up in court.

Perhaps more importantly, the proposal would ban consumers from suing food and drink makers, distributors or advertisers for obesity caused by consumption of their products.

"It is essentially a personal accountability act," sponsor Rep. Brian Brown, R-Greene, told the committee. 

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, questioned the need for the bill, noting that North Carolina's contributory negligence law, one of the nation's most business-friendly, doesn't allow a claim if the plaintiff has contributed even 1 percent to his or her own injury. 

But Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, said some plaintiffs file frivolous lawsuits anyway, and some businesses choose to settle because it's cheaper than waiting for a judge to throw the case out. 

Brown said he was unaware of any such suits in North Carolina but warned of  "an escalation of these lawsuits across the country."

"That's what we're trying to avoid with legal extortion," said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg. 

The bill is expected on the Senate floor next week. It passed the House in May but will need to return to the House for a final vote to approve minor changes.


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  • verlync Jul 1, 2013

    The title, "Big Gulp", is a red herring. Coke wants what only the gun industry has - protection from suits. "The proposal would ban consumers from suing food and drink makers, distributors or advertisers for obesity caused by consumption of their products."

  • nerdlywehunt Jun 28, 2013

    What a bunch of clowns to waste taxpayer money on this nonsense.......I can't wait for the next election......

  • archmaker Jun 28, 2013

    Is this a slushies jobs bill?

  • geosol Jun 27, 2013

    Why do we even NEED the REPUBLICANS to show up in their chambers anymore? Why not just go ahead and send all of the ALEC legislation directly to Governor McPope and save us all a lot of time and tax money. It doesn't matter if there is no need for the ALEC laws, that doesn't matter to them anyway.

  • geosol Jun 27, 2013

    Worst Legislature in NC History. But it is funny to read where the hypocritical REPUBLICANS are once again using BIG GOVERNMENT to tell other people what they can and cannot do.

    How many of you good people remember that "jobs, Jobs, JOBS!!" lie that the REPUBLICANS used to trick people into voting for them? Yeah, i thought so.

  • rushbot Jun 27, 2013

    this law, like the voter id law, is a waste of time and money!!! there aren't any cases of drink size controlling in nc either!!!

  • tarheelbythesea Jun 27, 2013

    Was there even the slightest talk of anyone anywhere close to NC even trying to pass a law to limit drink sizes? I know Bloomberg wanted it in NYC, but wasn't aware it was a nationwide crisis in need of our legislature's attention.

  • bakerbillwade Jun 27, 2013

    another example of wasted time, wasted money and lack of priority with our elected state officials. What about fixing state government and creating jobs?

  • monami Jun 27, 2013

    We're gonna need 'Big Gulps' once our water is poisoned by their funders, I mean frackers. What else will be safe to drink?

  • monami Jun 27, 2013

    Thank you, John Stein, for being a voice of reason among those crazies!

    We can't request frackers to disclose which toxins they will be injecting into our land, but we need to regulate non-alcoholic beverage purchases? CRAZY!