Wisconsin residents who receive FoodShare benefits would have to limit purchases of junk food, under a bill up for a vote in the state Assembly today. The legislation from Republicans would require at least two-thirds of the taxpayer-funded food stamps benefits to be used on “healthy food.”
Backers of the bill say it will help encourage healthy eating habits, while also preventing those receiving the benefits from using that money on “higher end” items, such as lobster and crab legs. State Rep. Robert Brooks (R-Saukville), a sponsor of the bill, has said he’s heard numerous stories from clerks about people abusing the benefits.
Democrats have argued the measure amounts to Republicans acting like the “food police.” State Rep. Andy Jorgensen (D-Milton) said it fails to understand the different diets or access issues many of those on public assistance programs face.
A similar bill passed through the Assembly last session, but then died in the state Senate. Even if the legislature were to approve the bill and the governor signed it, Wisconsin would still need a federal waiver to put the requirements in place.
The Assembly is also expected to take up bills today that to require drug tests for some applicants for unemployment benefits and for certain job training programs.