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Kittleman to announce decision on nutritional standards bill Monday

Amanda Yeager
Contact ReporterHoward County Times/Columbia Flier

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman plans to announce a decision Monday on a newly passed nutritional standards bill, which would require a certain percentage of the food and drink offerings in county vending machines to meet a set of caloric, fat and sugar guidelines.

Kittleman will hold a press conference to discuss the decision at 1 p.m. in his conference room at the George Howard building, according to his office. 

The nutritional standards bill, sponsored by County Councilmember Calvin Ball, a Columbia Democrat, was approved by the council by a 4-1 vote on Monday. County Councilmember Greg Fox, a Fulton Republican, was the sole opposing vote. 

The legislation, which has been championed by the Horizon Foundation, a local public health nonprofit, and community groups including People Acting Together in Howard County and the African American Community Roundtable, revives some of the standards set in a 2012 executive order from former County Executive Ken Ulman

Last summer, Ulman's guidelines met with opposition from local vendors, who said the rules would hurt business. Kittleman repealed the order as his first act in office last year. 

Ball's bill offered more exceptions than Ulman's order -- special events such as Wine in the Woods and the Fourth of July celebration on Lake Kittamaqundi would be exempt from the guidelines, for example. The final version that passed this week excluded concessions stands and was stripped of other provisions, including a requirement that the county offer free water at events.  

Kittleman can veto the legislation, sign it into law or let it sit for 10 days, at which point the bill would be approved by default. If he announces Monday that he is vetoing the bill, the council has the possibility of overriding his decision by a supermajority. 

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