New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted to infringe on the constitutional rights of his constituents by banning large-size soft drinks in the city that never sleeps. The ban would have affected fast-food places, restaurants, sport arenas, theaters and street vendors. The ban on the sugary non-diet drinks would have rendered heavy fines on entities caught selling drinks larger than 16oz to the public for profit.
“It’s sad the board wants to limit our choices,” said Chairwoman of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, Liz Berman. “We are smart enough to make our own decisions about what to eat and drink.” The New Yorkers for Beverage Choice movement has been highly vocal about discouraging the Mayor’s Office support of the ban.
The fast food industry has also campaigned to stop the movement in support of reduced size soft drinks. Lobby groups have been working diligently to quash Mayor Bloomberg’s movement in support of the plan. The $200 assessment fee associated with the ban was not very popular publicly and critics say it’s excessive.
“The new soft drink ban was an historic step to address a major health problem of our time,” said New York health commissioner, Thomas Farley. “Shrinking one sugary drink per person every two weeks from 20 ounces to 16 ounces, New Yorkers could collectively prevent 2.3 million pounds gained per year.”
Many feel New York City laws that could possibly infringe on the constitutional rights of choice would create a “nanny” state. Many New Yorkers have bumper stickers demoralizing Mayor Bloomberg’s support of the ban. While Bloomberg cites the push for the movement as for health reasons, New Yorkers look upon it as unfavorable.
In March the ban was ruled by New York Supreme Judge Milton Tingling as not enforceable and beyond the city’s regulatory powers. The ruling came a day before the ban was set to be instituted by city officials. The city sat ready to dispatch its team of code enforcement officers to ensure measures of the ban were maintained.
On a ruling Tuesday the First Division of the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division upheld the ruling of Judge Tingling. The law was said to be unconstitutional by the appellate court and Tingling was deemed valid in his assessment of the city’s code.
“Like the Supreme Court, we conclude that in promulgating this regulation the Board of Health failed to act within the bounds of its lawfully delegated authority,” appellate judges wrote in a unanimous decision. Mayor Bloomberg‘s movement to institute the ban was rendered dead in the water by the courts.
“We are pleased that the lower court’s decision was upheld,” said The American Beverage Association officials. “With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the citizens of New York City.” The American Beverage Association led the fight in defeating ban efforts proposed by Mayor Bloomberg and New York City’s attempt to try and infringe on the constitutional rights of its citizens were successfully fraught.
By Thomas Barr