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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Other States Trying to Dodge Happy Meal Ban Humiliation

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Happy Meal fries in Arizona and California
  • Happy Meal fries in Arizona and California

Even if he had it coming, it was hard not to feel some level of sympathy for Supervisor Eric Mar after watching him get brutally mocked on The Daily Show earlier this year. Aside from perpetuating San Francisco's epic silliness, Mar's poor showing on national television gave other states a whole new reason not to hop on the Happy Meal ban.

Not long after his interview was aired, restaurant associations in other states started lobbying lawmakers to ensure the wicked nanny government of San Francisco wouldn't spill over into their states.

To some extent, their effort has worked. Arizona recently decided to enforce its own ban, perhaps much to the chagrin of cities in the state. The new law says that local governments cannot enact marketing restrictions such as San Francisco's Happy Meal ban. Period.

The law is gaining traction in Florida, and other states are reportedly asking for copies.

Restaurant associations saw "an opportunity given the backlash in the media and the

public," says Daniel Conway, legislative and public affairs director

with the California Restaurant Association. "They said, 'Let's get ahead and make sure we won't have to fight" similar marketing bans.

That's true. After San Francisco implemented its law banning toys from high-fat Happy Meals, restaurant industry leaders said they'd be fools to think that the law wouldn't be replicated in their own states.

So, starting this summer, Arizona cities will no longer be allowed to regulate toys, games, coupons, crayons, or prizes that are offered to children in restaurants.

"It's not that we're trying to make kids fat -- clearly we're not; it's about how much government intrusion is really necessary," Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant

Association, tells Reuters.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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