A proposed California law to tax sodas, sweet teas, sports drinks and other sugary beverages was shelved today by an Assembly committee.
Assembly Bill 669 was placed on hold in a file for bills with monetary implications. No vote was taken, so the bill technically remains alive, but the author's office conceded that it is unlikely to advance.
Assemblyman Bill Monning, who crafted the measure, said the committee will not move AB 669 to the Assembly floor unless it can win a two-thirds majority vote there -- and, so far, that is not the case. Republicans adamantly have opposed any new tax.
"I would acknowledge that it's an uphill struggle," said Monning, D-Carmel.
Monning crafted AB 669 to generate revenue for obesity prevention activities and programs.
The measure would slap sugar drinks distributed in California with an excise tax of one penny per fluid ounce.
Monning released a written statement today saying that he is disappointed that AB 669 was shelved - but not giving up.
"I remain committed to continuing to pursue this issue and educating the public about the dangers of sugary drinks - the biggest contributor to current obesity trends," Monning said.
"The long-term health of California's children is at risk and we must work together to avoid a future influx of chronically ill adults into our already overstressed healthcare system," he said.
Opponents claim that AB 669 could harm the beverage industry and that decisions about consumption of sugary drinks are a matter of individual responsibility and parental authority.