SAN FRANCISCO - Across the country, fast-food restaurants are lobbying states to take away from municipalities the ability to regulate restaurant marketing in an effort to stop "Happy Meal" laws, Reuters reports. The companies want to avoid having more cities follow San Francisco€™s lead in banning toys with children€™s restaurant meals unless that food meets particular nutritional criterion.
Two Florida Senate committees have okayed a similar bill that stops such restrictions, but the full chamber has yet to vote on it. On July 20, Arizona€™s new law goes into effect that prohibits counties and cities from regulating children€™s coloring placemats, coupons, crayons, games, prizes or toys if given out at restaurants.
"It's not that we're trying to make kids fat -- clearly we're not. It's about how much government intrusion is really necessary," said Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association.
Since Arizona approved the bill, restaurants from around the United States have requested copies, said Chucri. The Arizona measure was approved by a vast majority.
In 1979, McDonald€™s launched its Happy Meals, which started the trend of offering toys and games with children€™s meals. McDonald€™s has said that sales of Happy Meals are under 10 percent of its total U.S. revenue.