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Student Soda Ban Passes Assembly

The state Assembly has voted to ban the sale of sodas to students at elementary schools and restrict sales of the drinks at junior highs.

The Assembly today approved a bill by Senator Deborah Ortiz of Sacramento that would allow elementary schools to serve students only milk, water and juice drinks that are at least half fruit and have no added sweeteners. Junior highs and middle schools could offer those beverages and electrolyte-replacing sports drinks during school hours.

Sodas could be sold more than a half hour before school and a half hour after school and at dances and other after-school events at junior high and middle schools. That exception is designed to aid school fund-raising drives. Bill supporters say it responds to an increase in obesity and diabetes among California children.