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Minnesota Legislature

Vetoed: A veto for super-sizing

Published (7/15/2011)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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During the last seven sessions, Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) has advocated that if you are what you eat, then you are responsible for the excess poundage that ensues and that should not be cause for a lawsuit.

Gov. Mark Dayton agrees with the intent of the bill’s sponsors, Urdahl and Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), but he vetoed the bill because it goes beyond the goal “to hold individuals responsible for their dietary choices.” He wrote in his veto message the bill would give companies too broad an exemption from liability.

Known as the “cheeseburger bill,” it would make establishments associated with the production or delivery of a food or nonalcoholic beverage immune from civil liability based on an individual’s weight gain, obesity or related heath condition resulting from the long-term purchase or consumption of that food or beverage.

Dayton wrote: “Unfortunately, this bill provides to companies that manufacture, distribute or sell nonalcoholic beverages civil immunity, except for ‘any other material violation of federal or state law applicable to the manufacturing, marketing, distribution, advertising, labeling, or sale of food, if the violation is knowing and willful… .’ That requirement of being knowing and willful creates too broad an exemption from liability, according to legal experts with whom I consulted.”

The closest any of Urdahl’s previous efforts have gotten to becoming law was in 2005, when it passed the Republican controlled House, only to die in the DFL controlled Senate.

HF264*/ SF160/CH101

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