Shirt? Check. Shoes? Check. Acceptable Body Mass Index? Ummm.....
By Jeff Emanuel Posted in Health care | Mississippi | obesity | Policy | satire — Comments (23) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Update: For another entrant into the below-mentioned department of legislation, check out this oldie but goodie from 2006: a Democrat State Senator from Ohio filing legislation that would make it illegal for registered Republicans to adopt in that state.
From the department of "ridiculous legislation ostensibly submitted for the purpose of getting folks' attention" comes this gem from Mississippi.
Known by the stimulating and descriptive title of "House Bill No. 282," legislation has been introduced in the Mississippi state assembly that would prevent restaurants from...serving obese people.
From the bill itself, 282 is:
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.
Those "certain food establishments" are later clarified by the bill as being "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."
Now, the chief sponsor of HB 282, Republican state Rep. Ted Mayhall, says that he doesn't expect -- or want -- this bill to pass. According to ABC24:
"I do not have any intention of this becoming law," says the Desoto County Republican. "I don't think it has a Chinaman's chance. I'm against intrusive government. I don't think that's what we're here for and what we should be doing."
So why draft such controversial legislation?
"The reason I put the bill in," says Mayhall, "was to call attention to the seriousness of the obesity epidemic in Mississippi."
Mississippi has ranked number one in the nation for obesity three years running.
Mayhall says that fully 30% of adults in the state are obese, and that, "with Mississippi's Medicaid program $168 million dollars in the red this year," illnesses related to obesity -- like diabetes -- are "draining the state's budget."
We'll see if this motivates folks to make some lifestyle changes on their own. While governmental regulation shouldn't be necessary to stem America's growing obesity epidemic -- which is very real, as anybody looking around an airport can see for themselves these days -- legislation like this can serve as excellent comic relief, as well as a wake-up call.