Just when you thought politicians are just a bunch of unprincipled weather vanes, some state lawmakers are defending the virtue of diet soda.
From Radio Iowa:
The Iowa Board of Education agreed upon new nutritional guidelines at the end of April, but a legislative panel has put those rules on hold ’til next January so lawmakers can review the new standards.
The legislature approved the “Healthy Kids Act” in 2008, but the latest delay in implementing the law stems from a disagreement over which beverages should be banned in schools. Representative Dave Heaton, a Republican from Mount Pleasant, questions the Board of Education’s decision to prohibit diet sodas.
“What do you have against carbonation? To me it looks there’s a bias against bubbles,” Heaton said. “I understand the (concern about) caffeine. I understand (the concern about) sugar, but I don’t understand (the concern about) bubbles.”
I now request unanimous consent to allow testimony from Mr. Pibb…
Actually, it was the Legisalture that appointed a task force of experts to set nutritional guidelines for schools. The goal was to stamp out junk food that’s fattening up the kids.
Now, lawmakers don’t like the task force’s recommendations. So they’re taking their cream pie and going home, to review it closely.
Good thing, because clearly state lawmakers are exactly who you want deciding nutritional standards. They can talk all about it after morning bacon and mid-morning birthday brownies and complimentary kolaches and lunchtime chicken-fried steak and mid-afternoon ice cream sundaes and evening feedbag receptions.
It cost special interest groups $240,000 smackers to keep these folks fed during the past session.
Anyway, at the bottom line, this is typical legislative backsliding and nitpicking. They set up a task force, don’t like what they get and throw the whole thing into legislative oblivion. Next.
And I guarantee you that diet soda is not the only reason this stuff is getting a legislsative doubletake. For one thing, some schools are not keen on losing revenue that kids spend on the junk they love. And this ongoing war against all things corn syrupy can’t be all that appealing to some rural lawmakers.
There’s also plenty of skepticism about the notion that kids will learn nutrition from a vending machine, no matter what it sells. As Sen. Merlin Bartz, R-Grafton, pointed out, the kids will bring food from home or roll to the convenience store down the street.
Lawmakers did OK new physical activity requirements for students, which could actually have more long-term benefits for kids than making school officials into a Twinkie Patrol.