More on Mississippi’s Food Fight

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FRIDAY 2-15-08…In Tidbits last week, I told you about a bill being introduced in Mississippi’s legislature …..House Bill 282….which would prohibit restaurants from serving fat people. I also told you I’d keep you up to date on the reaction. The reaction was immediate, and certainly gives new inference to the term “Mississippi Burning!”

Public Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Steve Holland says he will “pocket veto” the bill, which means it will die in a subcommittee. In a press release, Holland says “while I appreciate the efforts of my fellow House members to help curb the obesity problem in Mississippi, this is totally the wrong approach.”

Other comments weren’t quite so “soft.” Nutrition experts used such words as “ridiculous” “insane” wrong-headed”. The reaction was statewide and one of the authors of the bill now says he wasn’t trying to offend anybody, and never even expected the bill to become law. He just wanted to call attention to Mississippi’s obesity problem.

Other comments in letters to the editor, call-in talk shows and blogs were equally stinging. For example: “I am outraged! If I made the comment, I’d be fired.” And another “Mr Mayhall (one of the bill’s authors) needs to shut up, mind his own business, worry about himself and his own health.” And still another: “Ted Mayhall said he didn’t’ expect it to get very far, but wanted to call attention to the problem. The problem is with legislators like this who have nothing better to do than waste time crafting bills they know aren’t going to get anywhere.”

And finally, this jewel of a comment that should make other officials look in the mirror. “Imagine if this did pass. Where would most of the lawmakers then eat and what about law enforcement people, city officials, etc.”

One thing is for certain; the state of Mississippi, for one week, became the laughing stock of the nation. For one week, the state of California had some competition.

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