Bill to ban soda in elementary, middle schools advances

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A proposed ban on sales of sugary sodas in public elementary and junior high schools is on its way to the governor.

In a 24-6 vote on Tuesday, the Senate approved a bill intended to help the state's youngest students develop nutritious drinking habits. It would allow schools to sell only water, low-fat milk and pure juice.

Democratic Sen. Carlos Uresti of San Antonio said the change will save the state untold millions in health care costs.

The proposal has already passed the House, with changes requested by the beverage industry.

While the original bill applied to all public schools, the current version exempts high schools. It cleared the Senate two weeks after Coca-Cola Co. announced a major anti-obesity initiative including juice drinks.

Aides described the timing as beneficial.

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