House Puts Candy, Chips, Soda Back In Public Assistance Bill
February 14, 2012
A bill moving through the Legislature that has drawn national attention is shaping up as a showdown between the House and Senate.
The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, would keep Floridians from using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, funds to buy unhealthy food such as candy, ice cream, sodas and chips – or from using the money in gambling, liquor and other adult establishments.
The original House version (HB 1401) by Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, did the same.
But on Monday the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee took out the food restrictions by a vote of 9-5. The amendment deleting that language was proposed by Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, and backed by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples and the panel’s chair.
Hudson said he opposed the limits for reasons of “personal freedom…And so if that language should appear again, I can tell you that I will certainly rise in support of someone who would amend that off and I will vote against the bill on the floor should that language appear again.” Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, said the taxpayers have every right to set such limits.
“We are talking about a government benefit,” Wood said. “And therefore, in my mind, we can restrict how that benefit is utilized.”
The bill in the Senate (SB 1658) still contains the food constraints, however. “The biggest opponents I have right now are Coca Cola, the soda companies, the chip companies and the convenience store operators,” Senate sponsor Storms said in an interview last week with Fox News.
The dueling bills each face one more committee before heading to their respective floors.
By The News Service Florida