Author: James Sweet III

James Sweet is a reporter for 71 Republic from Lexington, South Carolina. He is an advocate for voluntary association and the free markets, alongside personal responsibility. As well as being a member of his school's FBLA chapter and debate team, James is the Director of the South Carolina Libertarian Youth Caucus. You can contact him at [email protected]

California Wants to Regulate Options for Kids’ Drinks

By James Sweet III | United States

A new bill in California would require restaurants to give children one of two initial options for drinks when ordering a meal: milk or water. Senate Bill 1192 has already passed the California State Assembly. If Governor Jerry Brown signs it, it would become the first law of its kind.

In Section 114379.20 of Chapter 12.8, it is stated that “a restaurant that sells a children’s meal shall make the default beverage offered with the children’s meal” either water or milk. However, it does not necessarily have to be plain water. The bill does allow some variations, including seltzer and flavored water.

The bill “does not prohibit a restaurant’s ability to sell, or a customer’s ability to purchase, an alternative beverage instead of the default beverage offered with the children’s meal, if requested by the purchaser of the children’s meal.” This is quite interesting, as it allows the parents to order whatever they want for their children if they are fine with letting their child drink something that’s not water or milk. It attempts to address situations in which parents allow children too many unhealthy drinks. Despite this, it does not take any firm action in this direction, as parents can easily circumvent this.

The bill defines a restaurant as “a retail food establishment that prepares, serves, and vends food directly to the consumer.” Since fast food restaurants are included in this definition, it is important to note that chains like McDonald’s already serve healthy beverages with their kid’s meals. For example, they serve Happy Meals® with organic juice or milk. Sit down restaurants, on the other hand, often do not include drinks with meals, so the bill largely does not affect them. Thus, the main target is fast food chains that do not serve healthy drinks by default.

One can only wonder if this bill will be effective in cutting down on obesity and diseases like diabetes. McDonald’s and other companies are currently taking all of the actions that the bill proposes. So, if signed, it appears that it will make few noticeable changes, but cement into law some decisions the market is already making.


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Lena Epstein Wins Michigan Republican Primary

By James Sweet III | Michigan

Based on reported results for the Michigan House District 11 race, 71 Republic can safely announce that Lena Epstein will become the Republican nominee for the general election. At 12:49 AM EST, Epstein garnered 30% of the vote with 74% of precincts reporting in. She received no national endorsements, but raised the most funds in the primary election.

The incumbent representative is Republican Dave Trott. The district, however, was won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election by 4.4%. With major Democratic figures like Hillary Clinton endorsing candidates for their primaries, and no major Republicans endorsing candidates in their respective primary, it is possible that Democrats could win this toss-up of a primary in the general election.


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Haley Stevens Wins Michigan Democratic Primary

By James Sweet III | Michigan

Based on reports for the Michigan House District 11th race, 71 Republic can safely announce that Haley Stevens, a candidate in the Democratic Primary, has won her party’s nomination for the general election. As of 10:40 PM EST, Stevens had 27.7% of the vote with 44% of precincts reporting. Stevens was endorsed by Hillary Clinton, who won the district by 4.4% in the 2016 Presidential election.

Stevens faced tough competition from Suneel Gupta, the brother of neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, who had the lead after results started to trickle in. She faced a lack of competition from Fayrouz Saad, the candidate endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

House District 11 is currently held by a retiring Republican, Dave Trott. Throughout most of the election, the Democrats maintained a higher total vote count over the Republicans, spelling danger for the general election, especially considering that the seat is a toss-up.

Stevens was considered to be one of the most likely candidates to win her party’s primary. In the general election, she will face a Republican candidate that has yet to receive any endorsements from a national figure.


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LIVE COVERAGE: Michigan’s 11th House District

10:29 EST:  With 31% of precincts reporting, Stevens is leading the Democratic Primary with 27.7% of the vote. Gupta is barely holding second place with 21.9% of the vote. Greimel is catching up, now holding 21.8% of the vote. Epstein now has 29.6% in the Republican Primary, with Raczkowski holding 22.9%.


9:37 EST: 13% of precincts are reporting in, and Stevens is still leading the Democratic Primary, now with 28.4% of the vote. Gupta is in second with 21.4%, but Tim Greimel is right behind Gupta with 20.4%. For the Republicans, Epstein is still in the lead, now with 30.6% of the vote, while Raczkowski holds 24.1% of the vote.


9:21 EST: 11% of precincts are reporting. For the Democrats, Stevens has taken the lead with 27% of the vote, Gupta now placing second with 22%. For the Republicans, Epstein has 30.3%.


9:18 EST: With 7% of precincts reporting in the Republican Primary, Epstein now holds 30% of the vote, with Raczkowski falling into second with 23.7%.


9:12 EST: A few more votes have trickled in, but 4% of precincts are reporting still. Gupta is still leading the Democrats with 33% of the vote, while Epstein has the Republican lead with 36%. It is important to note that more Democrats have currently voted than Republicans.


8:54 EST: With 4% of precincts reporting in, Lena Epstein is leading the Republican Primary with 35.9% of the vote.  Raczkowski is in second with 25.5%. In the Democratic Primary, Gupta is in the lead with 34% of the vote, and Saad is in second with 24.9%.


8:36 EST: Results are coming in, with less than 1% of precincts reporting. Gupta is leading the Democratic Primary, while Epstein leads the Republican Primary.


8:21 EST:  Election results are expected to start coming in at 8:30 EST. Stay tuned for updates.


Tonight determines who moves on into a contested general election for Michigan’s 11th House District. The incumbent, Republican Dave Trott, will not be seeking re-election, meaning no candidate has the incumbency on their side.

There are five Democrats running in their primary: Tim Greimel, Suneel Gupta, Fayrouz Saad, Nancy Skinner, and Haley Stevens. Haley Stevens is endorsed by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Fayrouz Saad is endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive, grassroots Democratic nominee for New York’s 14th District.

There are five Republicans running in their primary: Kerry Bentivolio, Lena Epstein, Klint Kesto, Mike Kowall, and Rocky Raczkowski. State Senator Mike Kowall has the most local endorsements in the race, while Lena Epstein has the most funds raised.

There is one Libertarian running: Leonard Schwartz.

In the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton won the district by a margin of 4.4%.