Watershed Media has been providing support in the form of videos and graphics for a coalition of California activists working with health professionals and legislators to pass a 2 cent per ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages. The California Community Health Fund (AB 138) would raise money to promote health programs, sustainable agriculture, and community development, has been under consider for many years. In 2019, the bill made it farther through the legislative process than in previous attempts. Unfortunately, it has been blocked from further action until at least January 2020.

Our media campaign was designed to engage citizens to lend their voices to this important initiative, which could generate billions of dollars to support critically needed programs. The powerful soda lobby is doing everything they can to stop legislation of this kind, which means donating tens of thousands of dollars to legislators on key committees. This is despite alarming trends which sugar sweetened beverages are fueling in the Golden State:

• $40 billion in annual costs of diabetes due to lost productivity and treatment;

• 15.5 million California adults who have diabetes or pre-diabetes;

• 12,500 amputations due to diabetes each year.

Roots of Change, the Public Health Institute and many other organizations continue to work for broader public awareness on the issue.