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Senator Harkin Reintroduces HeLP America Act

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Chairman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, has reintroduced his HeLP America Act (S. 1342), which contains a number of provisions that impact advertisers.

Many of Senator Harkin's proposals relate to obesity. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture to promulgate regulations excluding "foods of minimal nutritional value" from school campuses. It would create a number of grant programs to provide funds to schools to enhance nutrition standards, to employers to increase employee wellness, and to communities to develop community health programs. Most significant for advertisers, however, is his proposal to restore the Federal Trade Commission's "unfairness" authority over children's advertising. The bill would then require the FTC to determine whether to issue regulations to restrict food advertising. It would also ban food and beverage advertising in schools participating in the school lunch program. Finally, it would require chain restaurants to provide nutrition information on menus.

Another of the bill's provisions is to eliminate the federal tax deduction for tobacco advertising. It would also fund "counter advertising" programs discouraging the use of tobacco products.

Senator Harkin's bill was referred to the Finance Committee, which has not yet scheduled any action on it. We will let you know if we learn of further developments. If you have any questions, you can contact Dan Jaffe in ANA's Washington office at 202-296-2359 or at djaffe@ana.net.

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