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Spin Control: Senate debates what’s the best things to drink in a kids meal
Sun., Feb. 16, 2020
Add one more item to the admonition that neither a man, his liberty nor property is safe when the Legislature is in session.
The drink in a kid’s Happy Meal.
The Senate had a spirited debate last week that dug deep into the beverage options a restaurant ought to offer in a child’s meal. The initial concern was children’s health when the beverage default is soda. A Senate bill would require that the options include milk and water.
Wait a minute, said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley. Washington is known for apples. What about milk, water and apple juice?
Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynwood said he probably loves apple juice as much as Padden, but it has about twice the recommended amount of sugar as the federal standard.
But apple juice is healthy, Padden countered, and started to read from a description of Motts on how healthy their product is.
“I’m going to ask you not to read advertising,” Lt. Gov Cyrus Habib, the presiding officer, interrupted.
“– and Vitamin C,” Padden got in.
That amendment failed, and Padden, reading the writing on the wall, said he’d withdraw separate amendments to add orange, cranberry and grape juice to the bill.
Nothing against fruit juice, Liias said: “I love fruit juice. I drink fruit juice – not daily, but once in a while.”
How about chocolate milk?
“It may be healthier than Mountain Dew, but it’s still high in sugar,” Liias said.
How about nut juice, which some people call nut milk, but officially you can’t because you can’t use a dairy description for something derived from squeezing nuts, said Sen. Ron Muzzall, R-Oak Harbor.
No, and not oat milk either, said Liias, adding he didn’t want to get into the right way to squeeze things.
How about an amendment to teach pregnant moms about nutrition during prenatal visits, suggested Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville.
Good cause, but too far removed from the underlying intent of the bill, which is about drinks in kids meals, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, said.
After taking up nearly a half-hour of discussion, which some might argue the Senate could ill afford considering it was already halfway through a short session and bills are backed up worse than Interstate 5 on the Friday of a holiday weekend, the bill passed 25-22 and was sent to the House. Which is not a good sign considering there are twice as many people in that chamber to suggest other things that should be added to kids meals for their own good.
Young voters could get younger
Speaking of kids, the Senate had a more substantive discussion about when someone should be treated as an adult, and when they should be considered in need of extra special consideration by the government.
At issue was whether a person who is 17 at the time of the primary but will be 18 by the general election should be eligible to vote in the primary. Democrats said yes, because the primary decides the choices for that general election ballot.
“What’s so wrong with giving them a shot to have a say” in issues that will affect their lives, like climate change or war and peace, said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle.
Wait a minute, said Republicans. Someone who is 18 or under is treated as a child when it comes to criminal matters, Sen. Maureen Walsh, of Walla Walla, said.
“But they’re young adults when we’re talking about voting,” she said. “It’s a privilege to vote. If they’re under 18, they’re kids.”
For possession of firearms and smoking, the law says they have to be 21, said Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley. The law for voting is 18, but why go earlier, he asked.
They can get involved in politics and work on a campaign when they’re younger, but they should wait until 18 to vote, Sen. Padden said.
The state is constantly changing election laws, Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said. “I support opportunities for young people but this just isn’t quite ready.”
Democrats, however, thought it was. It passed 28-19 and went to the House for further action.