A Utah Republican spoke out on the House floor today against fat fines levied against schools because their vending machines violated rules governing federally compliant sodas and snacks.
Schools in Box Elder and Davis Counties were fined $19,000 and $16,000, respectively. Rep. Rob Bishop said that he taught at one of the schools for 23 years and graduated from the other.
“When the states were interfering with the federal government, it produced historical catastrophic consequences. But also when the federal government interferes with the role of states, the consequences will range from being catastrophic to just plain silly,” Bishop said.
He added that Congress was wrong to pass the 2010 Healthy and Hunger-free Kids Act for five reasons: “Number one, it was a Senate bill–that should have been our first tipoff. Number two, it was opposed by the National Governor’s Association. Three, it was opposed by the school boards association. Four, it violated the Constitution. Finally, number five, we created a one-size-fits-all federal program, not defined by us.”
Davis High School was fined $16,000 for not turning off a soda vending machine during the lunch hour — because it competes with healthier stuff — though a state food cop told the Associated Press that the school’s violation was selling soda from a bookstore that has one window opening up to the cafeteria.
“What was the heinous crime for which these fines were levied against the funds that go to help the kids in these schools? During the lunch hour their vending machines were plugged in,” Bishop said.
“It was wrong for Congress to invade the role of states. It was wrong to punish kids for these silly reasons. It is wrong to violate federalism. If a community, school, and their PTA wanted to create the standards themselves, fine. It is wrong for this body to think that every issue has to be decided here in this room and it is wrong for us to forget that the 10th amendment has a purpose. It is there for a reason and should be respected.”