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Nanny State Update: No More Soda for NYC and Bag Taxes for San Francisco
New York City has sealed the deal: The New York City Board of Health voted to approve Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large-size sodas. Starting March 12th, 2013, New Yorkers will have to look outside the Big Apple of get many soft drinks that are larger than 16 ounces. This ban is the first of its kind in the country and is another wrong-headed crusade in the war against obesity.
A Cry for Freedom by Houston Food Trucks: An owner of a Houston Food truck has petitioned the city council to be able to park his food truck downtown after learning that serving the large lunchtime crowd is, in fact, illegal. According to Houston law, Food trucks can only operate downtown if they are fully electric, cannot park within 60 feet? of one another and are located somewhere with public restrooms nearby. There are so many rules that you have to “find out that [you] are not allowed in certain places, can’t do certain things and can’t be at certain locations.” While many cities, like DC, are waging discriminatory wars to tax food trucks out of existence, this is another example of local regulatory capture at work, punishing hungry consumers and business owners.
Alcohol Advertisement Ban: A federal judge in Virginia has upheld a ban on alcohol advertisements in Virginia Public University newspapers. With some very clever thinking Judge Hanna Lauck said that “college newspapers are not protected by First Amendment rights.” Advocates claim that this will reduce the amount of underage drinking at college campuses. Indeed. Those poor college students - without advertisements, how else will they ever figure out alcohol exists?
Party but don’t Preach: Almost everything you can imagine is permitted to occur along Bourbon Street in New Orleans, except one thing. Since last year, preaching after dark on Bourbon Street has been forbidden per a New Orleans ordinance. Two weeks ago, a group of street preachers were the first to be arrested under the year-old rules. Only in New Orleans could one be arrested for preaching, but ignored walking down the street naked.
Another Bag Tax: Following in Washington D.C.’s footsteps, San Francisco has passed a 10 cent tax per bag. But that’s not all! This ordinance also sets standards for any retailer in San Francisco that offers paper or plastic bags, requiring them to be at least 2.25 millimeters thick and can only be reused 125 times. Any retailer that is caught not collecting the 10 cent tax or not following the city's ridiculous bag specifications will be fined. This law takes effect on January 1st, 2013.