Milk, Gatorade mark controversial day in Senate

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Milk, Gatorade and controversy were on tap Thursday for state lawmakers.

The state Senate approved a ban on the sale of sports drinks on high school campuses because of concern they contribute to obesity. And objecting that some commercials touting California milk were filmed in New Zealand, the Senate also approved a measure that would prohibit ads paid for by the state from being filmed outside California. The two bills next go to the state Assembly.

California union officials protested when it became known that some of the ``Happy Cow’’ television commercials for a campaign by the California Milk Advisory Board were filmed overseas.

‘Every time a production chooses to go out of the state, California loses not only jobs but also tax revenues,’' said state Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), who authored SB 1131.


Republican lawmakers who oppose state meddling in business decisions voted against the measure. GOP lawmakers also opposed SB 1255, which prohibits the sale of sports drinks, including Gatorade, on public school campuses during school hours.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) said his measure would allow student athletes to bring sports drinks to after-school games and practices. ``We’re trying to get at overconsumption by students who are not as physically active,’' Padilla said.

But Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks) said the measure does not address a bigger cause of obesity: that kids spend too much time sitting in front of the television set and computer game consoles. ``They are not doing the activities,’' Strickland said. ``This bill is misguided. I think it’s nanny government.’'

--Patrick McGreevy