Yes, it is true – not the man bites dog part, but the rest is anyway!) California Governor Jerry Brown last week very quickly signed into law a bill that prohibits local communities in the Golden State from enacting any taxes on groceries – including nonalcoholic beverages – at least until 2031. The first soda taxes imposed in the country were put in place in Berkeley back in 2014 and then in 2016, San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, California all approved a 1 cent-per-ounce soda tax that took effect in January of this year. The back story on how this legislation came to be is fascinating. With as many as 30 California communities considering new soda taxes, the beverage industry developed and bankrolled a ballot question to go before California voters in November that would require a super-majority before any new state or local taxes could be imposed or existing taxes increased. Over 1 million signatures in support had been collected. In the face of such support for the ballot initiative, California legislators, concerned they could lose the right to increase taxes with simple majorities, backed down and very quickly drafted Assembly Bill 1838. It was offered as a compromise in exchange for the beverage industry withdrawing the super-majority initiative. Time was very much of the essence as the deadline for withdrawing the petition was midnight Thursday, June 28. Governor Brown, who has rarely met a tax he didn’t like, signed Assembly Bill 1838 immediately after it passed the legislature last Thursday. The petition was then formally withdrawn by the proponents. Under the compromise law, the existing soda taxes will remain in place.