Sunday, March 16, 2008

Proposed Mississippi Bill: Restaurants not to Serve Obese People

Last month, three Mississippi lawmakers introduced a bill that would prohibit “obese” people from being served in Mississippi restaurants.

Understandably, the proposed law has created serious backlash, and the bill’s authors are now backtracking, claiming their intention was to bring attention to the obesity problem in Mississippi, rather than enacting the controversial law.

The Associated Press reports:

A state lawmaker wants to ban restaurants from serving food to obese customers - but please, don't be offended.

He says he never even expected his plan to become law.

"I was trying to shed a little light on the number one problem in Mississippi," said Republican Rep. John Read of Gautier, who acknowledges that at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, he'd probably have a tough time under his own bill.

More than 30 percent of adults in Mississippi are considered obese, according to a 2007 study by the Trust for America's Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention.

The state House Public Health Committee chairman, Democrat Steve Holland of Plantersville, said he is going to "shred" the bill.

"It is too oppressive for government to require a restaurant owner to police another human being from their own indiscretions," Holland said Monday.

Of all the numerous and creative ways that are available to “shed a little light” on this ongoing public health concern, I can think of few that are as offensive and discriminatory as this attempt.

Thumbs down, Reprensentative John Read.

- Annie Noa Kenet, Toronto

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