The Wisconsin state Assembly has passed a bill requiring more “healthy choices” for food stamp recipients
But even if it becomes state law, the tweaks to the FoodShare program will require a federal waiver – and Democratic state Representative Andy Jorgenson (D-Milton) said that’s not going to happen.
“This is nothing more than a game,” Jorgenson said.
“I don’t know, maybe just because he’s a Democrat he has a direct line to Barack Obama,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) “We have no idea whether this is going to get approved.”
The GOP legislation requires at least two-thirds of purchases made with food stamps be made from WIC, a federal list of foods for women, infants and children. The bill passed on a 60-35 vote and may now be taken up by the Senate.
Also on Wednesday, the Assembly passed a pair of bills which would require drug testing for some recipients of certain public benefits, including food stamps.
The measures, both authored by Representative Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) require that those receiving FoodShare benefits, some applicants for job training programs, and applicants for unemployment benefits, be screened for drug usage. The state would offer drug treatment to those who need it. Failure to pass a drug test a third time would result in a loss of benefits.
“Most people are never going to have to take a test, because they’re not going to have a problem with the screen,” said Vos. “But for those who do, to be able to get them into drug treatment so that they’re able to get back to work, that’s a compassionate argument.”
Democrats offered an amendment on the bill dealing with unemployment compensation, which would have required state lawmakers to pass a drug screen.
“Let’s not be hypocritical here, let’s lead by example,” said Jorgenson. Rohrkaste said the amendment was not germane to the subject of either bill.
The Assembly also concurred in a Senate amendment to legislation which increases speed limits on many Wisconsin freeways to 70 miles an hour. That bill is now ready for Governor Scott Walker to sign into law.