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The Los Angeles Times reports that Florida State Sen. Ronda Storms has introduced legislation in the Sunshine State that would “prohibit people from purchasing ‘nonstaple, unhealthy foods’ with funds provided by the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.” The Republican senator says that she was prompted to sponsor the bill because of concerns that at a time when the state was cutting Medicaid benefits and school funding, some people were using food stamps to purchase junk food.

According to the story, the bill was approved in committee, but it may not matter, since the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has generally taken a dim view of states restricting what people can buy with food stamps, other than alcohol and tobacco. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg was rebuffed by USDA when he wanted to ban soft drinks from being bought with food stamps, and the feds also rejected Minnesota’s attempt to stop soda and candy from being bought with federal assistance funds.
KC's View:
My sense is that this is a debate that is going to play out a lot more around the country, and the USDA is going to come under increased pressure to be more stringent about what can be bought using federal assistance.