Food Stamp Junk Food Bill Passes Assembly

MacIver News Service | May 8, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] Wisconsin Food Share recipients will have to spend two-thirds of their benefits on pre-approved food products, if a bill that passed the Assembly on Tuesday becomes law.

Representative Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) was the bill’s lead author, and during the floor debate, rattled off lists of items bought with benefits from the program.

“I got hundreds of grocery receipts from grocery store clerks, convenience store clerks. Snicker’s Peanut Butter Cups, Beef Steak, Sour Patch Kids, Hersey Almonds, Mountain Dew, Urge pizzas, Dr. Pepper, Urge Snacks, Planter’s Peanuts, Red Bull,” Kaufert said. “And you know what it says at the bottom of those slips. It says EBT cards.”

People will still be able to buy those things under Kaufert’s bill, because one-third of their Food Share benefits would not be affected. Kaufert said other healthy choices that slipped through the cracks in the pre-approved list, could be bought with that unrestricted one-third.

If the bill becomes law, the state will need to get permission from the federal government to make the changes. Then the Wisconsin Department of Health Services would have two years to implement it.

Kaufert wrote in a press release following the Assembly vote, “The original intent of the food stamp program was to provide the basic necessities, not luxury items and this bill will move us back in that direction.”