On Tuesday, voters in America will make decisions other than which candidates they dislike more than the others. There are also many local and state-wide ballot initiatives, including several that involve food-related issues.
As we discussed in class, proposals for soda pop taxes have passed in only two cities, Berkeley and Philadelphia. On Tuesday, residents of Boulder, San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, California will decide whether to impose a 1 to 2 cent per ounce tax on pop and several other sweetened beverages.
In Fairfax, Virginia, there is a ballot measure that would impose a 4% tax on prepared meals and beverages purchased from restaurants and grocery stores. This measure, however, seems to be more about raising revenue than improving health. Corporate farming and animal welfare measures are also on ballots in several states.
According to the very useful website ballotpedia.org, perhaps the oddest initiative was in California. Called, the “California ‘Shellfish Suppression’ Initiative”, it failed to get the required number of signatures and was not placed on the ballot. Had it done so and passed, it would have made “sale or consumption of shellfish a serious felony punishable by a $666,000 fine per occurrence and/or prison sentence of up to six years, six months, and six days.”
Part (a) of the proposed law stated “Shellfish are a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us in Leviticus to suppress. They also smell bad.”
I guess someone really doesn’t shellfish.