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Proposed Florida Bill Would Prevent Food Stamps From Being Used On Soft Drinks

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Florida lawmakers are considering legislation that would add a restriction on the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

HB 47, if passed, would prohibit SNAP recipients from using their benefits to purchase soft drinks. The bill defines soft drinks as carbonated beverages that have natural or artificial sweeteners.

The bill requires the Department of Children and Families to seek approval to enact the ban on soft drink purchases with SNAP benefits.

Soda FI

However, if the approval is not given, the legislation instructs the Department of Children and Families to annually renew its request until a waiver is granted.

As it stands, SNAP benefits have restrictions in place which include the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, hot-prepared food, household supplies, and paper products.

The author of the bill, Representative Ralph Massullo, in an interview with the Miami Herald, warned about an obesity epidemic, and suggested that allowing SNAP beneficiaries to purchase junk food with their benefits was only contributing to the problem.

“The fact that we’re allowing junk food as the most common purchased item leads to non-nutritional states and disease.”

The Republican lawmaker said that he did not want the government to “get into the nitty-gritty of our lives,” but that he also didn’t want the government to be making the people sick.

Previous efforts, in Florida, to ban the use of SNAP benefits to purchase junk food has come in the form of HB 593. HB 593 attempted to prohibit the use of SNAP benefits to purchase soft drinks as well as candy.

It failed to pass the Health and Human Services Committee, and was indefinitely postponed.

What do you think about the proposed ban on using tax-payer funded SNAP benefits to purchase soft drinks?

Should those who receive SNAP benefits be allowed to make their own choices as to what they eat or drink, or should the government become involved? Let us know what you think.

 

Source: Fox News

Source: Miami Herald

Source: HB 47

Source: HB 593

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