Oh, Mississippi. Pride of the nation, you are. I know and love several Mississippians, but as a state? Well, you’re rapidly losing what little respect I had left for you.

Thanks go to Lindsay (and you should all be reading her anyway) for pointing out the Junkfood Science article about Mississippi House Bill 282. Sandy called Representative Mayhall to make sure this wasn’t a joke. It isn’t.

HOUSE BILL NO. 282

An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes. Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi:

SECTION 1.

(1) The provisions of this section shall apply to any food establishment that is required to obtain a permit from the State Department of Health under Section 41-3-15(4)(f), that operates primarily in an enclosed facility and that has five (5) or more seats for customers.

(2) Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management established under Section 41-101-1 or its successor. The State Department of Health shall prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese, and shall provide those materials to all food establishments to which this section applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to rely on the criteria for obesity in those written materials when determining whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person.

(3) The State Department of Health shall monitor the food establishments to which this section applies for compliance with the provisions of this section, and may revoke the permit of any food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this section.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2008.

Y’all can feel free to email Representative Mayhall. I think he needs to hear from people in and out of Mississippi just what this bill means to them – for me it means possibly never being able to take my tourism dollars to Mississippi again when visiting my loved ones there. Plus, you know, the basic human dignity issues! RAR!


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27 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    you have got to be shitting me.

    holy crap!

  2. TR
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Totally on the up-and-up, sizzle. Check out the Junkfood Science link for a recap of Sandy’s conversation with him.

  3. Posted January 31, 2008 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    That was my first response, szzle.

    TR, i actually first posted about it on my personal blog; not that i mind you linking it, natch. Was going to post it to BABble as well, but then some RL stuff made me step away for a wee bit. About to dupe it over there if you’d rather link that post. I’m aight either way.

  4. TR
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Lindsay, I’ll be glad to change the link over to BABle – I think I originally saw this via good ol’ livejournal so I didn’t stop and check which blog the original post was in.

  5. Posted January 31, 2008 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, someone didn’t think out the Tourist Dollar repercussions on this one, that’s for sure. Not that Emess is such a hot tourist destination anyway, but this will NOT help them unless they are trying to lure Paris Hilton there for vacations (yeah, surrrre). So it will never pass in a kazillion years. But this is definitely one for the “WTFFFF?” files, for damnsure.

  6. N
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi!

    Two things. I just wanted to let you know that you’ve really inspired me over the last few weeks to begin to accept myself, after years of not really knowing what to think about my fat and the reactions of the people around me to my appearance. Receiving so many negative messages for so many years has messed me up so much that I’m sure it will take a long time for me to get everything sorted, but thank you so much for putting this blog out there to help people realize the ridiculousness of society’s standards.

    Secondly, I’ll definitely be writing and giving Mayhall a piece of my mind. What a load of crap. Just because he says that he doesn’t believe the bill is going to go through doesn’t excuse him for promoting legislation that supports discrimination.

    Thanks.
    N

  7. TR
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I can’t imagine this passing, Meowser, but just the thought of someone seriously putting it forward….

    N, thank you. Thank you for reading and for this comment.

  8. Posted January 31, 2008 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    well, shit, even if you’re not worried about tourist dollars, since so many americans are classified as ‘obese’ already, you’re basically cutting out a huge percentage of a restaurant’s local patrons. How’s a restaurateur supposed to make a living if he/she can’t serve the fatties?

  9. Posted January 31, 2008 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    According to the Mississippi Development Authority’s press release from May of last year), tourism brings in 5.75 billion annually to Mississippi.

    Mississippi does not have a ban on smoking in restaurants (some localities do, but not the state as a whole).
    I sent an email to Mr. Mayhall.

  10. Anne
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    But wait, didn’t “someone” just tell us that fat has become totally acceptable? I feel so betrayed.

  11. Posted February 1, 2008 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    It’s totally awesome that people with blood sugar issues who are also fat may not be able to get the life saving benefits of, you know, food simply because they’re fat! That’s a totally valid and reasonable bill to try and pass.

  12. Posted February 1, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Carrie P:

    The restaurants/citywide smoking bans are on the legislative schedule this year, but our governor is a huge tobacco lobbyist who vetoed a tax cut on groceries (one of the highest taxation of groceries in the nation) because it meant bumping the tax on cigarettes to a dollar.

  13. Michelle
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    This is absurd. I’ve never been to Mississippi but if somehow this bill *did* pass, you can bet your butt that me and all my fat friends would be there challenging it at every eatery in the state!! LOL!
    And can you imagine the loss of revenue for the restaurants? If you owned a 30 seat place and had to keep turning people awya simply because of their size? How ridiculous!!

    I wonder if there is an alterior motive here? Like, propose something outlandish so that something less crazy yet still “restrictive” would be considered?…

  14. Sharl
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I can think of to say right now, besides ‘wow am I glad I don’t live there’, is ‘What the FLYING FUCK?’

  15. Posted February 1, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Because segregation has worked so well in the past…

  16. Posted February 1, 2008 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m picturing people smuggling food home to their fat relatives, having to do it secretly, like they were giving cigarettes to minors or something.

  17. Posted February 2, 2008 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I can’t even begin to process this still. I read this the other night and still am completely aghast.

  18. Jill
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Will people get weighted at the door?
    This is too ridiculous for words.

  19. Posted February 2, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    This, (yeah, big surprise I know), really annoyed the crap out of me. A couple of years back I was actually in a Mississippi restaurant with a fat, diabetic friend who started to go into insulin shock. Fortunately the restaurant staff were only too willing to help. Had this preposterous bill been passed, I suspect the scenario might have panned out a little differently.

    I wonder if Mr Mayhall is planning to test the moral and physical worth of everyone else in the dinner queue? Aside from the smokers obviously. (How they got a free pass is beyond me. Oh wait, smoking is an appetite suppressant and therefore totally healthy. Silly me). But what about those with lower BMIs who routinely eat garbage or have a drug or alcohol problem? What about the ones with genital herpes and a dislike of condoms? How come they all get to eat and I get the fucking health lecture? Ohhhhh, I get it – because their transgressions don’t show on the outside! Boy I really ate a mess of dimwit for breakfast today, didn’t I?

    Obviously this bill isn’t going to get passed. And I strongly suspect it’s nothing but a cheap, vote-grubbing publicity stunt. Still feels like the thin end of the wedge though. Perhaps another bill suggesting some form of culinary apartheidt would go down a little better next time? You know, the Virtuous Thin get to eat whatever they want from the menu while the Damnable Fat automatically get the carbless, fatless, dressingless, joyless fat-plate-du-jour? Or maybe fat discrimination could be used to fuel the economy rather than ruining countless lucrative businesses, thereby completely decimating it? Maybe the fat should be charged twice as much as the un-fat for the privilege of eating half as much of the same thing? That could work, Mr Mayhall.

    I can haz job in Mississippi lo-cal, (gettit? low cal??) govinment?

  20. Posted February 2, 2008 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps another bill suggesting some form of culinary apartheidt would go down a little better next time? You know, the Virtuous Thin get to eat whatever they want from the menu while the Damnable Fat automatically get the carbless, fatless, dressingless, joyless fat-plate-du-jour?

    Oh, that I could totally see happening, Buff. Fatties get handed the “special diet menu” and told they can only order off that. Fatties are prohibited from buying anything in grocery stores that is not low fat/low carb. And the sad thing is, a lot of fatties WANT that. They think the reason they’re fat is because they can’t resist the “bad” stuff, so keep the “bad” stuff away, et voila, instant thin and a pass to Skinny Valhalla. They may yet have to find out the truth the hard way. (The fact that even most people who get gastric bypass and can’t eat more than a few spoonfuls a day don’t get out of the “obese” range apparently doesn’t learn people, so I have to wonder what will.)

    Meanwhile, if that kind of law goes into effect, the hard drugs and heavy boozing I’ve been avoiding all my life are gonna start to sound pretty good.

  21. Posted February 3, 2008 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Wait! Hold the booze and heroin, Meowser. I’ve got a better idea. When the shit hits the fan, let’s open Mississippi’s first full fat ‘n’ deep fry speakeasy! The secret password can be “cupcake”; we can put the word out on the fatosphere – it’ll be so cool even skinny famous people will want to crash it.

  22. Posted February 3, 2008 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh, Buff, I am SO there. Even Rep. Mayhall will be begging for a bite!

    (Note to self: Try and figure out how Saint Cupcake here in PDX makes their Fat Elvis ‘cakes — yes, that’s peanut butter/banana/chocolate, OMFG.)

  23. Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    We can deep fry those, right?

  24. Red
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    You can deepfry anything.

  25. Beck
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard deep-fried Snickers bars are a real fave in Scotland. And deep fried twinkies are a hit stateside. Start with those two and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed customer base. You’re making money before you even open!

  26. Posted February 4, 2008 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Not that Emess is such a hot tourist destination anyway…

    What, you’ve never heard of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, aka the Redneck Riviera? People from all over the South go there to sin and eat seafood.

  27. Sarahbear
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    You know the best fried food I ever had was fried cheese-stuffed black olives. Holy cupcake, so good. I would patron any speakeasy that had those.

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] @Mississippi: But I’m fat!  And I have tourist dollars!  And a dream of eating red hot tamales in the [...]

  2. [...] Mississippi bill to prevent serving obese people: I’ve seen a lot of Internet chatter about this, but nothing in the mainstream media. Yet, it is legit. However well intentioned the author might be, I just can’t see this working from a business perspective. Can we say discrimination? [...]

  3. [...] The Rotund [...]

  4. By Dicke werden nicht bedient | Grosse Mode on February 11, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    [...] 29!” “Oh, ich dachte, Sie wären über 30!”). Den Gesetzestext kann man hier nachlesen. Aufgrund der zunehmen Fettleibigkeit der US-Bürger müsse endlich die Regierung [...]

  5. By No food for fat people! | RejectSociety.com on April 18, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    [...] of the subjects that first encouraged Rejectsociety.com was this Mississippi House Bill 282, which died in committee two months ago tomorrow. I’ll be celebrating it’s death with a [...]

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