'Big Gulp' bill passes House

Posted May 15, 2013

— Cities would not be allowed to ban large servings of sugary drinks under a bill that passed the state House Wednesday night. 

House Bill 683, the "Commonsense Consumption" bill, would also prohibit people from filing "frivolous lawsuits" against food manufacturers or packagers for obesity, weight gain or health issues related to consumption of their products. 

The bill is model legislation promoted by pro-business advocacy group American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

Sponsor Rep. Brian Brown, R-Pitt, said the measure "requests that individuals make smart decisions."

“It’s right to not have people sue companies based on a bad personal choice that they made,” Brown said.

Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, called it a "solution in search of a problem."

"If there was ever a bill that was less necessary, I can’t really think of one," she said.

Ross said  the state's contributory negligence law disallows damages if a plaintiff is even 1 percent to blame for his or her injury. 

"These kind of lawsuits don’t happen in North Carolina," she said. "The sponsors of the bill couldn't cite one case that has been filed." 

Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, offered an amendment on third reading.

Blackwell said the bill, as written, "goes overboard" and is "unfair to consumers" because it gives food manufacturers too much legal leeway, even if they sell something they could reasonably expect to cause harm to a consumer.

His amendment narrowed the requirements for proof. It passed despite Brown's objections, but with the backing of House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Tim Moore.  

The final vote on the amended bill was 79-33. It now goes to the Senate.


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  • maureenataba May 17, 2013

    Taxes, bans, and other restrictions on products are the wrong approach to the obesity issue. Such laws do nothing to teach people about healthy lifestyle habits. This is why education is the only effective tool.

    -Maureen Beach, American Beverage Association

  • ncfarmer321 May 16, 2013

    More nonsense from this legislation ..

  • jny88 May 16, 2013

    This state has completely lost it. The only reason they would want to pass a bill like this is to say "we aren't like NYC". So ridiculous. Banning breeds of dogs and limiting voting rights, sure. But sugary sodas... wait a minute, that's a personal freedom! NC is a complete joke to the rest of the nation thanks to party that you gave control.

  • Wiser_now May 16, 2013

    "It’s right to not have people sue companies based on a bad personal choice that they made” Oh my! That sounds too much like common sense. Maybe it's the start of a trend! :)

  • Krimson May 16, 2013

    Thank God! I was afraid the GOP was actually going to do something constructive!

  • corgimom06 May 16, 2013

    I think the NY bill that tried to ban large drinks was silly howeve is it more silly to pass a bill to ban something no in the state has proposed?

  • FlagWavingFascistCrank May 16, 2013

    Proactive stupidity....brought to you by the gerrymandered minority party of gullible ignorance.

    I hope ya'll get an eternal caffeine withdrawal headache.

  • readme May 16, 2013

    I wasn't aware that we needed a bill to prevent other bills from taking away freedoms. But if we really need it, I'm glad we passed it.

  • LastSon1981 May 16, 2013

    I was a ACFL in the Navy basically I helped an LCDR who ran the pyshical fitness program. Part of our job was to get up every morning and work out the people who had failed the biannual fitness accessment. Granted they only had to go 3 days a week. We did everything from Zumba, to P90X, to Spin classes we even had a guy teach Wing Chun. The point I'm trying to make is even if you got someone to workout in a way they found enjoyable you couldn't get them to eat right. Tapping AP phone lines, having a corrupt gov agency scrutinize corrupt political groups is nothing you take away big gulps and macs and you may have a problem on your hands.

  • jttm69 May 16, 2013

    The ban from NYC was already struck down by the courts. So, wasting time and passing this bill does nothing!!! Oh, I'm sorry it does. It shows how stupid this state is becoming.