Proposed bill: No using food stamps to buy junk

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (WTHR) - A proposed law would limit the amount of junk food available to people on food stamps.

Arkansas Rep. Mary Bentley filed HB1743 to prohibit Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) recipients from spending their benefits on soft drinks, candy, energy drinks or dietary supplements.

Bentley is advocating for a healthy lifestyle while addressing the state’s obesity problem.

Arkansas ranks seventh in the nation in adult obesity, according to the State of Obesity website.

Bentley sponsored a similar bill in 2017 which failed to pass.

The current version calls for the Arkansas Department of Human Services to request a demonstration waiver from the United States Secretary of Agriculture to allow for implementation of the new definitions of allowed foods available through SNAP.

Texas is now also joining in on the push to ban junk food purchases with food stamps.

Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain filed House Bill 4364 in the House Committee of Human Services. The bill would ban recipients from using food stamps on energy drinks and any beverages containing at least 54 milligrams of caffeine per 8 fluid ounces.

It would also ban people from using food stamps to buy candy and some chips and cookies.

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