February 4, 2008 8:21 AM

We're from the government, and we're here to shred your civil liberties

FEBRUARY 1—Mississippi legislators this week introduced a bill that would make it illegal for state-licensed restaurants to serve obese patrons. Bill No. 282, a copy of which you’ll find below, is the brainchild of three members of the state’s House of Representatives, Republicans W. T. Mayhall, Jr. and John Read, and Democrat Bobby Shows. The bill, which is likely dead on arrival, proposes that the state’s Department of Health establish weight criteria after consultation with Mississippi’s Council on Obesity. It does not detail what penalties an eatery would face if its grub was served to someone with an excessive body mass index.

OK, so I suppose the sentiments behind this proposed legislation are noble, and at least the craziness is bipartisan. After all, Mississippi has historically been one of the most obese states in the nation. I admire the three legislators responsible for crafting this bit of legislative lunacy, but this bill makes about as much sense as outlawing low-cut dresses in an effort to prevent rape.

Not only does the bill not stand a snowball’s chance in Hell (or Mississippi, not that there’s really a difference), even if it did pass, no court in the land would uphold it. Regardless of how you feel about obesity, preventing a restaurant from serving a certain class of people smacks of…well, you’d think that Mississippi legislators would remember the Civil Rights era, in which Mississippi played a leading role. What’s next? Fat-people-only water fountains?

I’m all for helping prevent obesity, but requiring restaurants to refuse service to the obese is something that no reasonable person could condone. Speaking from personal experience, an individual will not make the effort to lose weight until they reach a point where they have an epiphany. Once a person realizes that it’s time to lose weight, they will make the effort required to do so. Until then, no amount of lectures, legislation, or public ridicule will provide motivation. I believe that we should provide every incentive for people to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle, but this legislation is just plain offensive. Thankfully, it will be DOA and laughed out of the Mississippi legislature. It deserves nothing less.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on February 4, 2008 8:21 AM.

If this is the biggest problem in your life...I'd like to trade places with you was the previous entry in this blog.

Time to make a difference, y'all.... is the next entry in this blog.

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