Tennessee Lawmaker Proposes Ban on Junk Food for Food Stamp Users

Tennessee Lawmaker Proposes Ban on Junk Food for Food Stamp Users

Many have long argued that when someone subsists courtesy of the generosity of the state (think welfare and food stamps, for instance), then that individual should be gracious enough to at least spend the state’s money wisely.

One of those who has argued this was Tennessee Rep. Sheila Butt, who on Thursday finally acted on this belief by filing a monumental bill that would ban food stamp recipients from spending taxpayer funds on unhealthy food items.

“A recipient of public assistance benefits shall not knowingly use an electronic benefits transfer card to purchase food items that are high in calories, sugar and fat without any nutritional value, including, but not limited to, soda, ice cream, candy, cookies and cake, as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture,” the Republican’s bill reads.

Some have countered that passing this bill would be both an affront to the poor and equivalent to telling the less fortunate that only the rich deserve to eat sweets and drink soda.

In a statement published to her website, however, Butt refuted this accusation.

“At the end of the day, if you’re on public assistance, you shouldn’t be using taxpayer dollars to consume junk food that leads to additional health problems and more taxpayer assistance to address those problems,” she wrote.

This argument did not please Linda Williams, the president and CEO of RISE Foundation, a community organization in Memphis.

“We’re trying to impose a regulation on people where the general public has the same issue,” she told news station KSDK.

But that was beside the point. There is a massive difference between people using their own money and using public funding to purchase and consume unhealthy food, and officials in other states are working on efforts similar to Butt’s bill.

Considering that food stamp recipients in Tennessee collected over $134 million in food stamp benefits in November alone, there most certainly should be at least some level of accountability in the state’s welfare program, don’t you think?

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Source: conservativetribune.com