A state judge today stopped City Hall from banning New York City restaurants and other venues from selling large sugary drinks — a bubble-bursting defeat for Mayor Bloomberg who has made public health a cornerstone of his tenure.
Before the earth-shaking ruling by New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling, restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues, convenience stores and other places regulated by the city’s health department would have been prohibited — starting tomorrow — from selling sugary drinks of more than 16 ounces.
Tingling permanently stopped the city from enforcing the ban.
“[The city] is enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations,” New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling ruled.
The judge said Bloomberg and the Board of Health overstepped their bounds, to enforce rules that should be established by the legislative bodies.
“The rule would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it,” Tingling wrote. “Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened drinks.”
“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the rule, including but not limited to no limitations on refills, defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose of the rule,” Tingling wrote.
The Mayor’s office will, of course, appeal the decision. Will be interesting to see how far this goes – and ultimately what the outcome will be. In the meantime, those 17-ounce “inspection cups” that “health inspectors” were to be using to make sure restaurants weren’t cheating will remain – for now – on the shelf.
As they say, stay tuned …
Update – 6:18 PM: Tweet of the Day:
@sistertoldjah I wonder if the “17oz inspection cups” will become collectables?
— Drone Bait (@BigRMV) March 11, 2013