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Bill Targets Junk Food in Vending Machines at State Offices

vending-machine

An L.A. high school student leans on a vending machine on school property in 2010. (Barbara Davidson, Los Angeles Times / May 6, 2010)

LOS ANGELES — Proposed legislation to remove junk food and sugar-loaded drinks from vending machines at California state office buildings and on government property is intensifying debate about when the battle against obesity becomes a gateway to “nanny state” tactics.

Backers of the Assembly bill, AB 459, said California shouldn’t condone the sale of fatty snacks and sodas in the workplace when taxpayers are already shelling out vast amounts to cover the healthcare costs of overweight government employees.

Opponents, however, liken the bill to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large, sugary drinks, an attempt that a state court there struck down in March. Legislators, they said, shouldn’t meddle in consumers’ food and beverage choices.

On Wednesday, the bill — written by Assembly member Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) — is set to go before the state Committee on Appropriations.

Read the complete story at LATimes.com.

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