Hot Topics Simmer In State Legislatures
Summer is here, legislation is pending and most state governments are in adjournment. Here’s what’s on the docket during these dog days of August:
- Meal Taxes: Minneapolis is one of a growing number of cities seeking to shore up governmental coffers with so-called meal taxes. More and more municipalities are considering appending additional taxes to meals ordered at restaurants. These taxes are already in effect in cities including Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
- Credit Card Surcharges: Measures that would ban merchants from adding surcharges to credit-card purchases are under consideration in more than a dozen states, including Hawaii and Washington, according to the National Restaurant Association.
- Genetically Modified Foods: Washington State voters will decide in November on a regulation that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods. If passed, it would be the first state to enact such a rule.
- Disposable Packaging: Following the lead of Portland, San Francisco and Seattle, which already have bans in place, food packaging made of plastic-foam and other products cited as not eco-friendly are targeted in several major cities.
- Drink Tax: Proposed legislation in California’s state Senate would levy a 1-cent tax on sweetened beverages. Two similar measures failed last fall in Richmond and El Monte, Calif.