Press C-C-F For Vending Machine News Morsels

The news just keeps getting weirder in the ongoing debate surrounding our love handles. Lately, attempts to regulate vending machines — a favorite target of food cops like the Center for Science in the Public Interest — have gone from farce to reality and back again.

Legislation is winding its way through the Arizona statehouse that would curb the sale of soda and snacks in schools. Of course, like the rest of the knee-jerk restrictions on school vending machines, the bill bans diet soda along with regular soda. Capitol News Service notes: “In no case though would diet sodas ever be permitted under HB 2544 even though they contain no sugar and are not linked to obesity.” But here’s where things get unusual. Capitol News Service reports that the bill cleared one legislative hurdle “only after lawmakers agreed to let teachers and staff continue to eat whatever they want.”

While teachers in Arizona can enjoy a full array of food choices, in Hawaii they could soon be held to the same ridiculous standards that their students may face. Continuing the anti-obesity campaign in schools, several states are considering legislation to put kids’ Body-Mass Index on their report cards. But Hawaii state Representative Rida Cabanilla wants to go a step further and create an obesity database for public schoolteachers. Her justification for the outrageous plan: “You cannot keep a kid to a certain standard that you yourself is [sic] not willing to keep.”

One New Mexico state legislator has introduced a bill taking this principle to the next level. It would prevent lawmakers from possessing treats in the state legislature building. The punishment:

[A] member of the house shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for first-time possession of an unhealthy snack item and shall be required to perform community service by speaking to children about the evils of junk food; and shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) for a second offense and required to participate in a junk food rehabilitation program; and, finally, shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500) for a third offense and placed on the junk food offender registration list for the rest of the member’s life.

Luckily, the legislator told us today that she never intends for a “junk food offender” registry to exist, and that the bill is intended to be a humorous attention-getter.

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