Liias-sponsored bill requires restaurants to offer healthier drinks with children’s meals

Sen. Marko Liias

State Sen. Marko Liias, a 21st District Democrat who represents part of Edmonds, will testify before a panel of lawmakers on Friday, Jan. 24, to make a case for a bill that would require restaurants to offer healthier drink options for any children’s meal on the menu that includes a beverage.

The bill, SB 6455, would require the default beverage that comes with a children’s meal offered in a restaurant to be one of the following:

  • Water, sparkling water, or flavored water with no added natural or artificial sweeteners;
  • Unflavored milk; or
  • Any other non-dairy alternative that contains fewer than 130 calories per container or serving.

“Kids learn a lot at a young age,” Liias said. “If we can teach them healthier habits when they’re young, they’re much more likely to make healthier choices when they become adults.”

Liias introduced the bill as an effort to reduce child obesity rates and address a steadily worsening public health issue.

According to the CDC, adult obesity medical costs were estimated at $147 billion in 2008. Medical costs for people who have obesity are $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Liias stressed that his legislation does not prohibit restaurants from providing less healthy beverages with children’s meals upon request.

“I wanted to make that very clear in the bill — this isn’t an attempt to force restaurants to sell one product over another,” he said. “There are no heavy mandates here, but with obesity rates trending in the wrong direction, all ideas need to be on the table to address this serious public health issue.”

SB 6455 was referred to the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, where it will receive a public hearing at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24. A companion bill — HB 2383, sponsored by Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) — was also introduced in the House of Representatives.

The bills have until Feb. 7 to be approved by their respective committees to be eligible for further consideration this session.

The 2020 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn for the year on March 12.

  1. I’d like to read a report that the legislature is at last doing something about the vehicle license tab issue.

    1. It would be great to see either right at Harbor Square. All the local yuppies and smile-police would hate it, but they’d hate it while they wait in line.

    1. Strom Peterson is introducing a state-level tax on plastic bags. Its truly progressive to tax us to provide sugar and corn [syrup] subsidies, then also tax us (and now fine us) if we drink it.

  2. I think all 6 of you are right on the money on this one. Maybe Mike McMurray should rethink Edmonds Crossing and buy an Inn N Out franchise instead for the location. Dick’s could use a little competition near by and when I reach the point of using a motorized chair to get around on, I’ll have a good reasonably priced burger in close range.

    Ron and Don, it’s a lot to expect of our pol.s to solve real problems when it is so much easier to invent problems and then solve them. We can only hope for some sanity to take hold sooner or later on the political scene in general.

    1. Many thanks to Liias for pointing out the need for fast food downtown Edmonds. It’s fast-food desert here. 🙁

    2. Thank you for the much needed laugh today. The legend (is legend the right word?) of Bop n’ Burger carries on.

  3. Mike makes a good point here, plus Bop N Burger doesn’t usually add to the crowd and parking issues we often experience on week-ends and festival days.

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