Local and state legislators continue to push menu labeling regulations even as the U.S. House and Senate work on health-care reform legislation that include provisions for a national policy. Recently, Montgomery County, Md., a suburb of Washington D.C., passed such a bill, and now New Jersey legislators are considering regulations for that state. If approved, New Jersey would become the fifth state to pass a menu labeling law.
 
On Thursday, the New Jersey state Senate passed a bill that would require restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide to post calorie information for food and beverages on menu boards, according to a story in The Star-Ledger.
 
From The Star-Ledger:
Chain restaurant owners and Republican legislators called the bill unnecessary because the House and Senate versions of the health care reform bills include very similar menu disclosure requirements. (Sen. Joseph) Vitale said he wanted consumers to have the information sooner than the two to three years it would take for the health care bills to be implemented.
 
If approved by the state Assembly and governor, the bill would go into effect a year after it was passed. Operators who failed to comply would face fines of $50 to $500, with the higher fee for subsequent offences.
 
Update: New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed the bill into law Jan. 18. The law will go into effect in a year, and operators who don't comply will be fined, according to NJ.com.

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