This afternoon, a New York State supreme-court judge halted the implementation of Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks, ruling that the city is “enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations.” The rule was set to go into effect tomorrow, March 12, though there was to be a three-month grace period until it was enforced (with fines of $200 on the first offense). The judge ruled that the city’s Board of Health, appointed by the mayor, does not have the power to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of ‘controlling chronic disease.’” They argued that it would fall to the New York City Council, the city’s legislature, to enact such a rule, saying that the city council “alone has the authority to legislate as the Board seeks to do here.”
The ruling also mentioned that “the court finds that the regulation herein is riddled with exceptions based on economic and political considerations” — certain types of dairy products, for instance, were exempt, including drinks containing more than 50 percent milk. Further, the measure applies only to businesses regulated by the city, known to New Yorkers as those with a letter-grade sign in their window from the Board of Health, not businesses such as convenience stores and grocery stores, which are regulated by the state. Those issues and others led the court to deem the proposed rule “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences.”
The petition was brought by a rainbow coalition of the New York Statewide Coalition of Chambers of Commerce, the New York Korean-American Grocers Association, the Soft Drink and Brewery Workers Union, Local 812 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Herman Cain’s old employer the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State, and the American Beverage Association (that’s the good ABA).
The mayor’s office announced on Twitter that it will appeal the judge’s decision:
Via Business Insider, here’s the ruling: