March 1, 2009

Indiana trails in everything

Nobody has ever accused Indiana of being on the forefront of anything. That now includes children's health.

State Rep. Charlie Brown of the Indiana General Assembly tried to follow New York City's lead and have fast-food restaurant display calorie counts. But the lobbyists made sure the proposal would not get out of committee. And what's the rationale?

The yellow legislators said the federal government might pass a national law soon, and Indiana should wait rather than lead.

It seems the entire nation has past by Indiana...and Notre Dame football, and Indiana basketball.

If a bill to force fast food restaurants to prominently display the nutritional value and calories of their menu items isn't dead this year in the General Assembly, it's definitely on life support.

No word on whether the proposal suffered a heart attack due to morbid obesity and calcification of the arteries.

State Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary had hoped showing Hoosiers some of the nasty stuff they eat would move them to eat less of it.

He predicted children and teens would lead the way, convincing their parents to stay away from the more nutritionally reprehensible products on the menu.

But opponents argued restaurant owners would face unreasonable costs to comply.

They also pointed out a federal statute governing fast food nutritional information could soon become standard across the country, and said Indiana should wait rather than putting its restauranteurs at a disadvantage.

The bill languished on the House agenda for weeks, as Brown tried to privately drum up support.

When he finally called it to the floor, Brown's proposal failed on a tie vote, 48-48.

He hopes to introduce the bill again, and find the votes necessary to get it passed.

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