House Bill 127 will make middle and high school students leave campus if they want to satisfy their soda fix. State Rep. Carol Alvarado's bill passed 96-46 on second reading today after a short debate.
Alvarado's bill allows districts to sell only milk with a fat content of 1 percent or less, milk substitutes like soy milk, water without sweeteners, 100-percent vegetable or fruit juice, and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade (at coaches' discretion). An amendment from Vicki Truitt, R-Keller, was adopted to include zero-calorie vitamin enhancement beverages on the list.
Alvarado, D-Houston, said the the bill would help combat childhood obesity and save the state the cost of treating resulting diseases like diabetes.
Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, challenged the legislation on the floor, saying lawmakers were "telling [students] that we don't trust their judgment on things."
The bill's supporters argued that the ban on sugary drinks like sodas and artificially flavored fruit drinks was already in effect for elementary school students, and that it made no sense not to extend that ban to the older grades.
"This is about kids; we're not talking about adults," said Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston. "We have a responsibility to ensure they have a healthy lifestyle."