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Issue Date: Vol. 54, No. 6, June 2014, Posted On: 6/6/2014

New York City Asks Highest Court To Reinstate Bloomberg Soda Ban

Emily Jed
TAGS: vending, Bloomberg soda ban,New York ban on large sugary drink, Justice Milton Tingling, Bill de Blasio, soda ban

ALBANY NY -- New York City attorneys asked the Court of Appeals here on June 5 to reinstate the city's ban on large sugary drinks, saying its health department has the power to ban any products that pose a health risk.

Lower courts struck down former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's May 2012 proposal to impose a 16-fl.oz. limit on the size of sugary drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts after the American Beverage Association and other industry groups sued the city over the ban.

A day before the rule was set to take effect in March 2013, New York State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling ruled that it was "arbitrary and capricious" because it excluded convenience stores and didn't apply to other high-sugar beverages like coffee and milk drinks.

An appeals court in Manhattan upheld Tingling's ruling in July, saying the Board of Health exceeded its authority in approving the restrictions. | SEE STORY

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office in January, has embraced Bloomberg's health initiatives, including the soda ban, and hired Bloomberg administration veteran Mary Bassett to head the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Richard Dearing, an attorney for the city, argued before the seven-judge Court of Appeals in Albany on June 5 that Board of Health's decision was based on studies that show sugary drinks to be a leading driver of obesity. He argued that the board had the authority to enact rules to address health issues such as obesity.

The trade groups suing the city were backed by the NAACP and other civil rights groups, members of the New York City Council and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Law professors and a coalition representing health officials from cities across the country supported the city.

The Court of Appeals in Albany is expected to rule next month on the city's request to reinstate the big-size soda ban.

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