California state lawmakers are again trying to counteract the consumption of sugary beverages, suggesting a tax, warning labels and a ban on soda windows near check-out among other measures on Wednesday.  The five bills address what democratic lawmakers call a public health crisis that leads to increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diseases.
"The soda is the new tobacco industry," said San Francisco Assembly of San Francisco as he promoted his actions that would bar restaurants from selling soft drinks in cups larger than 16 grams (.5 liters). "This is an industry that has used marketing and sales tactics to expose low-income groups, color groups across our country."
One in four California adults is now overweight, he said a 40 percent increase over two decades. More than half of Californians are overweight and more than half have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. The average American drinks nearly 50 liters (190 liters) of sugary drinks a year, he said, eating 39 pounds of extra sugar.
Another bill would prohibit soda vouchers that Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland said may result in "soda is actually cheaper than bottled water."
The Assembly Republicans suggested that the proposals are the Democrats' last attempt at the nanny government.
"What's next – criminalize pizza over 18 inches?" they said in a statement.  The proposals include a tax on sugary drinks that would take a two-thirds vote to approve. Health groups are also circulating petitions to put a tax of 2 cents per ounce on the 2020 election.
Several initiatives have failed repeatedly in previous years, including the tax proposed by the assembly Richard Bloom of Santa Monica. He said the details of his proposal are still being prepared, but a 2 cent per ounce tax would increase a projected $ 2 billion annually for preventive work.
The beverage industry says that such a tax will fall more difficult for those with lower incomes, and would have uncertain health benefits, and quote comments from the state's non-partisan law analyst.
The California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julian Canete criticized the package on behalf of the beverage industry and said that sodas have already done a lot to counter overuse. He promotes better health education over a tax.
The American beverage association, representing Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and others, said it is engaged in an "unprecedented commitment to combating obesity" by offering more choices and smaller sub-sizes with less or no sugar.
Apart from soda, lawmakers said they target sports drinks, sweetened coffee and tea and other sugary drinks.
Last month, the 9th US military court blocked a sanction in San Francisco, requiring health warnings about soda advertising, saying it violates constitutionally protected commercial speech.
The lawsuits also said that noise alarms are not based on established fact, citing food and drug administration declarations that sugar is "generally recognized as safe" when not consumed excessively.
Sen. Bill Monning of Carmel liked his proposed warning label for those required for cigarettes and said he would welcome a court challenge.
Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and other tobacco opponents announced their support for bills restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and candy and fruit flavored e-cigarettes.