Bredesen vetoes menu labeling bill

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 6:02pm

Gov. Phil Bredesen has vetoed a Senate bill, which would have given local legislative bodies the authority to require restaurants to include calorie information on their menus.

The legislation would have pre-empted action taken by the Metro Board of Health earlier this year to require chain restaurants to begin menu labeling in the next year. Bredesen is on the record as favoring menu labeling, but vetoed Senate Bill 1092 because it "would irresponsibly limit our state's ability to fight" the obesity epidemic. (Click here to read Bredesen's letter explaining his veto to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.)

Ironically, Bredesen's veto comes on the same day that a report from the Trust for America’s Health showed Tennessee as one of just four states with an obesity rate above 30 percent.

The state bill, originally sponsored by Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), initially sought to remove the power to require menu labeling, but then was amended to shift the power to local legislative bodies like the Metro Council.

The Metro Board of Health passed the menu-labeling requirement for chain restaurants earlier this year. Director of Health Dr. Bill Paul said people order differently when they have calorie information provided. Paul called the menu-labeling requirement a tool to assist in the fight against obesity.

The bill had support in the House of Representatives because it put the onus for instituting a menu-labeling requirement on elected officials, instead of appointed members of a government board.

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2009 07 Bredesen menu labeling veto.pdf56.82 KB

5 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 7/2/09 at 6:09

I think the first paragraph is wrong.
The governor's letter explaining the veto says that he vetoed the bill because the bill would prohibit local authorities from enacting menu labeling. The first paragraph of the story says the vetoed bill would give local bodies the authority to enact menu labeling.

By: Nash2322 on 7/2/09 at 6:57

The first paragraph is somewhat correct. The bill would have barred non-elected local boards (Boards of Health) from enacting such regulations. It is silent as to local elected officials. If they have the authority to do so, they could certainly do it.

By: Kosh III on 7/2/09 at 7:51

thanks nash2322

By: sidneyames on 7/2/09 at 8:21

The state, the county, the city, the federal government cannot dictate good eating habits. I am a relatively health conscious person. At 62 I have no major issues, but eating is something I love to do. So if I want to consume a quart of ice cream with a million calories, I'll do it. I'll eat a double decker taco supreme, or a big huge greasy hamburger without giving it a second thought. And so will the other people on the planet. The government needs to focus on the front end of the problem. Teaching people how to manage calories and manage money in the early stages of life is better than trying to dictate the restaurants. I strongly believe that this move will only cost restaurants more money and will not fight obesity. Government shut up and go home. Be careful people - the government might start rationing toilet paper.

By: JohnGalt on 7/2/09 at 11:05

Pretty underhanded of the gov to veto legislation after the legislators have ended their session so they can't override.