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Florida House rejects food stamps junk food ban

24-Feb-2012

A Florida House subcommittee has rejected a proposal to restrict food stamp spending on less healthy foods and beverages, such as sodas and candy.

The bill (HB 1401) also would prohibit food stamp, or SNAP (Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients from using debit-like electronic cards to access cash benefits outside of Florida or at strip clubs, liquor stores, bars and gambling establishments.

The subcommittee voted 9-5 in support of the shorter version of the bill.

A companion bill in the State Senate, introduced by Senator Ronda Storms (R-Valrico), passed a Florida Senate committee late last month. The bill is intended to restrict purchases of certain foods under SNAP, as well as at prohibit the use of food stamps at restaurants, including fast food chains.

One in seven, or 48m, Americans currently receive food stamps, and the number of Americans who benefit through the program has grown rapidly as the economy has struggled. The use of food stamps is already prohibited for some grocery store items, such as alcohol, nutritional supplements and prepared foods.