BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A bill that would restrict local governments from putting any type of control on food or drinks is quickly becoming the target of opposition from forces outside of Mississippi.
Those opposed to the bill say the legislation may wipe out any gains the state has made in reversing bad health trends.
It's referred to as the anti-Bloomberg bill, in reference to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to ban oversized drinks with a high sugar content. The bill's co-author is Mississippi Senator Melanie Sojourner. She says government shouldn't have a say in what people choose to eat or drink. "I'm just a strong believer in that personal choice and less government," Sojourner said.
In response to that bill, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is chiding the Mississippi Legislature. Bloomberg said on his WOR Radio show Friday that Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the nation. He said life expectancy is low there compared to the Northeast. He called the anti-Bloomberg bill "ridiculous."
Bloomberg's attempt to limit the portion sizes of sugary drinks was struck down by a New York judge this week.
Mississippi's bill is now on Gov. Phil Bryant's desk. Sen. Sojourner says if he signs it, Mississippians will be reminded again to be responsible for themselves. Sojourner says, "The bottom line is for me, this comes down to a personal freedom."
If the Mississippi bill becomes law, cities and counties won't be allowed to enact rules limiting such things as the size of soft drinks, the salt content in food or the shortening used in cookies.