HOUSE BILL NO. 282
An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes. Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi:
(1) The provisions of this section shall apply to any food establishment that is required to obtain a permit from the State Department of Health under Section 41-3-15(4)(f), that operates primarily in an enclosed facility and that has five (5) or more seats for customers.
(2) Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management established under Section 41-101-1 or its successor. The State Department of Health shall prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese, and shall provide those materials to all food establishments to which this section applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to rely on the criteria for obesity in those written materials when determining whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person.
(3) The State Department of Health shall monitor the food establishments to which this section applies for compliance with the provisions of this section, and may revoke the permit of any food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2008.
really, i shouldn't even bother to comment. the mississipians' legally elected have done more than enough with this one. but i just can't help myself. i see the food and i gotta snarf at the trough.
so, no fatties at the public table. okay.
let's start with the obvious.
how do they define obesity? ah yes, it will defined as "per criteria" provided by a state based group after consultation with another group (not so state based). well, let's hope they don't include any of the national diet and/or weight loss organizations that want you and me to buy their products. a few years ago i was privy to nutrasystem's chart to determine obesity and i was three pounds under the limit for my height. 5' 8" and 185 pounds, mostly rugged marbled fat and muscle. overweight? yes. to a dangerous and possibly fatal point? not by a long shot in anyone's eyes.
next. will there be scales at the entrance to each and every restaurant and a government employee present to check for noncompliance? or will they rely on fit patrons to call in to a special hotline and "out" the offending patrons/restaurateurs?
and are 7-11's and AM/PM's and the like included? these establishments are notorious for selling absolute crap to anyone who trundles it to the checkout counter. they even provide carry carts for those too weak to bear the weight of processed food and sugar laden heart attacks.
while the state government is at it, why not go after obese restaurant employees who get a free meal after each shift?
so, what's next for the wonderful state of mississippi? ban bars from serving "known" alcoholics? restrict tobacco sales to those who smoke less than a pack a day? force fiancees to disclose any and all previous sexual encounters?
hey, here's an idea: how about it gets its state out of the lowest tier for income? how about it tries its damndest to push its education scores out of the gutter? how about it cleans up its river so the fish can swom and the fishermen can make a living again? how about it reads mark twain again and his rantings about state government?
obesity is a terrible disease, whether genetic or environmental. but to regulate who can and cannot eat at a public establishment is a callous slap in the face to those who suffer from it. if you are not willing to treat the disease as opposed to punishing it, then you will only paint yourself further into a corner of being perceived as stupid, ignorant, biased, redneck, zealotrous, phobic, narrow-minded and backwards.
i, for one, cringe at the children i see in the supermarket. grossly overweight, coddled by parents, throwing what they want into the cart and getting away with it. i find it hard to make eye contact with obese adults, because i am afraid they will see the pity and revulsion i know i can't quite hide. maybe it is a bleeding heart liberal thing to wince inwardly at the excesses perpetuated by our society, but not speak outright to those indulging in them. but i don't see the other side doing it either. i see them passing laws to punish those who don't fit in to their narrow view on life. i see them expelling those who don't fit. i hear them saying "bless her heart" behind scented handkerchiefs and then passing judgement.
what i don't see from any of us is a willingness to work with them. we give money to charities and then call it a day. we pass laws to protect and then don't follow up to make sure the law is doing what it said it would. we turn a blind eye to those in need and then chastise them for being who they are.
do i have the right to go up to a mother at savemart and tell her she's killing her obese child by buying it insta-meals and pop tarts? yes. it's a free country and speech is protected. it may be rude and self-serving, but it is a right.
do i have the right to regulate where and when families or individuals can eat on a night out? no. or, rather, i should not. but even in our nation of citizens' rights i find that those who do not fit within any majority group's predetermined list of rules can be forced out or into subjugation.
we are a nation of laws, but we seem more and more willing to let a select few write and enforce those laws. and as long as we are satisfied to concentrate on our individual ills we will continue to allow the city and the state and the national governments to pass any and all laws without our consent.
you know the saying:
"it takes a village to raise a child".
historians may look back on America and say "it took a village to raze a nation".
or it took a populace afraid of speaking out to acede to domination. we are, indeed, a global village. every nation, no matter their politics, looks to us as the compass. we have become THE empire for the 20th and 21st centuries. whether they agree with us or not, all fate is tied to ours.
and if the best we can give them is to ban obese people from dining out, then we are truly fucked.