The California State Senate Committee on Governance and Finance has reportedly passed legislation (S.B. 622) that would impose a 1-cent per fluid ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks. Sponsored by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and passed in a 5-2 vote, the measure aims to generate funds to support the newly created Children’s Health Promotion Fund and finance programs statewide to fight childhood obesity. The bill excludes milk products, and fruit and vegetable juices would be subject to the law only if the fruit or vegetable content in the beverages dropped below 50 percent.

“This is the first time this state committee has passed a bill that would place a tax on sugary drinks and the first step toward stemming the epidemic of childhood obesity,” Monning said. “By taxing these products we will be able to implement programs that will assist in preventing diseases among children and begin to address a public health crisis, whose rising health care costs affect all Californians.” The bill now goes to the Senate Health Committee for review. See Monterey County Weekly, April 24, 2013; Sen. Monning News Release, April 29, 2013.