When the city council of Santa Fe, New Mexico, placed a measure on the local ballot to tax sugary drinks earlier this year, writes Rob Waters in Forbes, the soda industry responded quickly, pouring $1.3 million into the anti-tax campaign. To cover their bases, industry lobbyists also pursued a back-up plan: they backed a bill in the state legislature to strip local governments of the power to levy such taxes. In the end, the state language was added to another bill that sailed through the New Mexico House before dying in a Senate committee, shortly before Santa Fe voters defeated the local soda tax. But as a growing number of cities consider and increasingly pass soda taxes and other measures designed to combat obesity and promote healthy eating, the food industry has turned to preemption, a strategy used extensively by the tobacco and gun lobbies.
A Connecticut judge struggled for reasons to avoid dismissing a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit against Remington Arms, reports Forbes. At one point she asked lawyers whether claims against the manufacturer of the gun used in the Sandy Hook school massacre were similar to tobacco litigation. At the end of the hearing in Superior Court in Bridgeport Judge Barbara Bellis urged attorneys for the gun maker and families of the victims to consider sending a crucial question about the applicability of a state consumer-protection statute to the Connecticut Supreme Court for review, because, she said, “One way or another it is going to end up there.”