Raleigh, N.C. — Cities and counties would not be able to ban the sale of sugary drinks under a bill that passed the House Judiciary A Committee late Wednesday.
The measure would also bar lawsuits against food manufacturers and producers based on claims that a product led to weight gain or obesity.
"Has a lawsuit of this kind ever been filed in North Carolina?" asked Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.
Bill sponsor Rep. Brian Brown, R-Pitt, said he couldn't speak to suits in North Carolina.
"They have been filed nationwide," he said. "This is a (law) that will be helpful to restrict those types of frivolous lawsuits in the future and really drive home the personal accountability aspects of North Carolina's business-friendly lifestyle."
Ross and other Democrats said North Carolina already has laws to prevent frivolous lawsuits, but Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, suggested that such "Rule 11 actions" were "toothless."
The restriction on cities has been informally dubbed the "Bloomberg Bill," a reference to the New York mayor who led the push to restrict the sale of large-sized sugary beverages there.
The measure passed committee 8-5. It next goes to the House floor.