SACRAMENTO, CA -- The California State Assembly placed a healthy vending bill on its suspense calendar May 24, halting the legislation, which was fiercely opposed by industry groups, from moving forward this year.
Assembly Bill 459 would have required that at least 50% of the food offered by a vending machine on state property meet accepted nutritional guidelines by Jan. 1, 2015. It would require 75% compliance the guidelines by Jan. 1, 2016, and 100% compliance by Jan. 1, 2017.
On and after Jan. 1, 2016, the bill would also require that 100% of beverages offered in vending machines on state property also meet the nutritional guidelines.
The National Automatic Merchandising Association, California Automatic Vending Council and blind vendors groups in California worked together to oppose the bill.
"It's very simple: We as an association and an industry are working hard to advocate for consumer choice," said Eric Dell, NAMA's senior vice-president of government affairs. "Consumers should have the right to choose their own snacks and beverages and we will continue to work hard to provide them with the information they need to make the choice that's right for them."
He applauded the California Assembly for not moving forward on Assembly bill 459 and emphasized that passage of the measure would have a detrimental effect on the vending industry, particularly blind vendors operating on state-owned property.
Dell said NAMA's government affairs division will continue to monitor and advocate against this legislation, as it could become active again next year.
Nicky Gacos, president of the National Association of Blind Merchants and NAMA government affairs committee member, applauded the State Assembly's actions.
"Blind vendors look forward to continuing our working relationship with the California's Assembly in the future to develop ways to increase customer choice for consumers without affecting the blind vendors' bottom line," he said.