Republicans Pushing for Extremely Regulated Food Stamp Laws

Madison – Efforts are on the way to prevent Wisconsinites receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from being able to use them to purchase lobster or shrimp, and SNAP recipients may be subject to drug testing and forced substance abuse rehabilitation programs, under two bills introduced in the GOP-majority state assembly.

The state Department of Health Services published a 16-page brochure detailing what people can and cannot buy with their food stamps.

Those restrictions are included in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) food supplement program, and apply to Wisconsin’s FoodShare program under the state Republicans’ proposed law.

The regulations are specific: recipients can purchase most fruits and vegetables, but not potatoes. They can buy cans of mature beans only, and can’t choose anything immature or dried and sold in bulk. They can only purchase juice that is bottled in 48 or 64-ounce plastic containers and is not refrigerated. Recipients can’t buy white or any kind of organic rice. They can’t buy canned soup or spaghetti sauce.

AB 177, which received its first committee hearing last week, would ban people from using SNAP benefits to buy all shellfish such as lobster.

Food pantry groups like Hunger Task Force say the proposal would create “a ‘grocery nanny system’ restricting the freedom of food choice for families, regardless of health or cultural needs.”

A second bill according to north carolina unemployment officials would force certain food stamp recipients who test positive for drug use to undergo treatment or be denied benefits.

AB 191 would build on a Wisconsin law,passed in 2013 by GOP Gov. Scott Walker and state Republicans, that allows the state to require able-bodied adults to participate in job training programs in order to qualify for food stamps. This bill is moving through the legislature this session.

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