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Baltimore bill would limit sales to fight tardiness

BALTIMORE A councilwoman has introduced a bill that would prohibit Baltimore restaurants from selling food and drinks after 7:30 a.m. to patrons under age 16, arguing that the enticement of breakfast leads many students to be late for school.

The measure, introduced last week by Democrat Mary Pat Clarke, would fine restaurants $500 for serving students unaccompanied by a parent or an adult at least 21 years old between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on school days. Civic regulations already prohibit restaurants from feeding students between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The Maryland Restaurant Association said it would seek a meeting with Clarke and other members of the City Council to clarify the meaning and intentions of the bill.

“I think the councilwoman’s goal is to get students to school on time, but to blame local restaurants and retailers for delaying students from arriving on time misplaces that responsibility,” said Melvin Thompson, the restaurant association’s vice president for government relations. “I’m certain that stopping for breakfast at a local restaurant is not the only reason students are late for school. This unfairly targets the foodservice and retail industry.”

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