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Rantz: WA Democrat wants government to dictate and censor restaurant menus for kids

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Talk about an alarming example of government overreach.

Vancouver Democrat Rep. Monica Stonier thinks she knows how to parent better than you do. And she certainly thinks she’s more capable of running restaurants than actual restaurateurs. This shocking arrogance explains a bill that would give government control over menus, all to protect kids from consuming unhealthy beverages.

Apparently, parents are too apathetic or stupid to make healthy choices on their own and restaurants can’t be left  to run a business the way they see fit.

House Bill 2383 mandates Washington restaurants (which seems to include fast food establishments) with kids menus only provide beverages Stonier finds healthy. The bill says a restaurant must offer one of the following as default options for beverages: Water, sparkling water, or flavored water, with no added natural or artificial sweeteners; unflavored milk; or a nondairy milk alternative that contains no more than 130 calories.

If a restaurant doesn’t abide by the rules, they get hit with fines.

And it goes further. The law restricts the menu from listing beverages beyond the water, milk and non-milk alternative. It states, “The beverage listed or displayed on a restaurant menu or advertisement for a children’s meal must be one of the default beverages listed in subsection (1) of this section.” Stonier, in other words, is censoring menus.

First of all, water is already the default beverage for pretty much all non-fast food restaurants. It’s offered for free to everyone at the table.

Second, parents don’t need Stonier to tell them how to feed their kids. I’m sure she’s a great mom and my assumption is that she doesn’t let her kids drink sugary drinks when they go out to dinner. She didn’t need an overreaching law to make those parental decisions. Yet she thinks you need it to parent the way she’d like you to parent.

Stonier should have some respect for you as a parent or guardian and understand you’re perfectly capable of making the healthy choice for your kid. It’s the absolute height of arrogance that she thinks she knows more about parenting than you.

Third, she’s made absolutely no attempt to argue why this is necessary. It’s obviously implied that she’s doing this so kids drink healthier beverages (though she weirdly takes no issue with kids menu items that are loaded with empty calories from sugar and processed food).

But is this actually a problem? Do restaurants automatically bring kids a Coke? If so, how many? And why can’t parents say, upon delivery of the sugary beverage they didn’t want, that they’d prefer something healthier?

Is this about going after fast food? A Happy Meal already forces you to pick an option of beverages, which includes unflavored milk and water. Burger King has the parents choose milk or juice.

Is this about going after chain restaurants? A quick perusal of kids menus shows, for example, Olive Garden already offers milk as a default. Applebees doesn’t include a drink at all. Cheesecake Factory lets the parents pick.

So other than declaring Stonier a responsible mom, what exactly is this for?

Stonier did not return requests for an interview. She was undoubtedly busy scolding parents for letting their kids drink chocolate milk at a restaurant. Isn’t she a hero, folks?

The co-sponsors to this overreach are: Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-SeaTac), Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett), Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), Rep. Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds), Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila), and Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane). All Democrats. Shocking.

Contact them to let them know how you feel about being told you’re not capable of parenting your kids without assistance you didn’t ask for.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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