California’s bill to add warning labels to sugar-sweetened beverages has stalled in the state’s Assembly Health Committee. The state Senate passed the bill last month but fell three votes short of the 10 needed to pass the committee on Tuesday. After hearing from the bill’s author, Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), co-sponsors and beverage industry opponents, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) kicked off discussion among committee members by saying that the bill is “an honorable effort, but I feel it’s ineffective.” Gonzalez, who noted that soda manufacturers create important jobs in her district, argued that labeling one type of product but “ignoring others” does not adequately address the problem of diabetes and called for an holistic approach instead. “I think this bill creates as much confusion as it does information,” she said, adding that a label would “give consumers a false sense of security that by simply not drinking soda, that they’re not putting themselves or their children at risk.” Other members echoed Gonzalez’s concern. Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) stated that, while industry has a direct responsibility in terms of public health, he was not convinced that a safety label would change people’s habits. “Changing behavior is the hardest challenge in the world of medicine,” Monning responded. “But you can’t start to even make a commitment to behavior change if you don’t have the information.” Pastor Robert Jones, president of the California Association of Black Pastors, who spoke in support of the bill, said that changing behavior “begins with educating and empowering our community and the way we educate them is by telling them ‘look at the label.’” Another skeptic, Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), said that stopping corn subsidies and allowing product costs to rise would be more effective. She said she questioned labels, but would be in full support of a soda tax. “Let’s be consistent in what we’re doing, and let’s understand that we’re warning against something that we are aiding and abetting in through government,” she said. Although Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) noted that he didn’t anticipate a label making the amount of difference that better education would, “but I’m going to be supporting this bill because I think it’s the right step to take the conversation.” “No matter what happens, we are kick-starting a discussion here,” said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), another of the seven members who voted in favor of the bill.