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 Florid


43 Responses to “House Puts Candy, Chips, Soda Back In Public Assistance Bill”

  1. David Huie Green on February 17th, 2012 5:01 pm

    Naw, they just dumped some former employees

  2. Amy352 on February 17th, 2012 3:29 pm

    Tell that to all the Americans who lost it all while the CEO got his bonus. Mabe that would make them feel better about being homeless. Those people sold out their employees and you know it.

  3. David Huie Green on February 17th, 2012 1:16 pm

    “Free trade act genius! Bail out genius! ”

    So you agree it wasn’t the corporations’ existence which hurt your situation, it was government programs which made it more profitable for some corporations to leave? government programs which rewarded failing industries with your money?

    But you’re mad at the corporations and me?

    Your solution would be to enslave the corporations and force them to stay here to give folks jobs? What if they went to North Dakota? (which has a very low unemployment rate right now) That would also be the corporations’ fault? The government should force them to remain in the Bluff Springs area?

    If businesses could not act in ways which made them profitable, they would go out of business and all their products would cease and all their jobs would end.

    David for clear sight

  4. Amy352 on February 17th, 2012 12:28 am

    Free trade act genius! Bail out genius! They kept their jets and bentley! They laid thousands off! Where was gov regulating on that bail out money we had to cough up?! Look at the big picture! Why do you think I’m on assistance!? Your gov got us here buddy! They allow companies to pay foreign countries pennies to peasants and then have the nerve for tax breaks! I am not brain washed! I am an American who is angry! The gov let too many Americans down when they allowed jobs to go overseas! Then they worry about this mess instead of people losing homes and everything else! You do your corporation loving while I try to pay the house note Huie! Amy for Angry Americans who got sold out by the Corporations! Thank God I am an out spoken Country Girl who will speak my mind! Who Dat?!

  5. Info on February 16th, 2012 6:32 pm

    Whoaaaaaaa!!! The average person makes $33k??? I’d like to know where those jobs are. I make $14 an hour which roughly comes to $23k after taxes. Where are you getting your information from and WHO is average anyway?

    Until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, don’t judge why someone is on assistance. Not everyone on it is worthless. You’re more worthless for your lack of compassion.

  6. David Huie Green on February 16th, 2012 5:20 pm

    “Where was the control for the big corporations killing our economy? The government needs to make jobs instead of working on chips!”

    I wonder who brainwashed you into believing the big corporations are killing our economy.

    They are a big part OF our economy. To prove it to yourself, imagine them instantly being gone.

    Poof! Microsoft’s gone as Apple, IBM, Google, so is the software which runs our computers and the computers and systems themselves and the people who worked for them and the people they bought from and the dividends paying into retirement accounts.

    Poof! Gulf Power’s gone. So is the electricity to our homes and the people who worked for them and the people they bought from and the dividends paying into retirement accounts.

    Poof! Exxon, BP, CITGO, all the many evil oil companies are gone. So is the gasoline for our cars, the diesel for our trucks, the plastics we use in everything around us, the things which were brought to us by car or truck, the jobs we can no longer go to and the people who worked for them and the people they bought from and the dividends paying into retirement accounts.


    David for appreciating those who work
    to provide for others

  7. Amy352 on February 16th, 2012 4:17 pm

    Contrary to popular belief not every one on Foodstamps is a bum. My husband had a good paying job. Thanks to the government his job is probably done by foreigners who do it for a dollar a day. I like how they jump on control with EBT. Where was the control for the big corporations killing our economy? The government needs to make jobs instead of working on chips! Do something about the drugs around here.I pay my taxes pedal pusher. You ain’t the only one with a job. I work every week,too. I do not feel bad when I swipe that card.My husband paid those taxes in. I am still paying them. I am just as good as you are. I pay my taxes so I will buy what I please. :) Not everyone is a lowlife who doesn’t work!

  8. pedal pusher on February 16th, 2012 2:02 pm

    Personal Freedom????
    You want personal freedom to buy whatever you want? Then go out and get a job to pay for the things you want. I work my tail off 40+ hours a week to pay my bills and buy my groceries.
    If I’m paying for your groceries (through assistance programs), then yes, I should have some say in what you’re allowed to purchase with that money.

  9. SW on February 16th, 2012 6:14 am

    It is amazing how many people support wealth redistribution; whether unemployment, ‘welfare’ assistance, or . It is not surprising how many people who are recipients support it as much as how many people whose wealth is being taken forcibly seem to support it.

    Have we gotten into the ’sheeple’ mindset so much that we are just willing to accept anything the government does as inherently good?

    Are we willing to have 100% of our income or property or personal savings taken by government so that it can be given to those to whom it perceives as needing it more than we?

    I basically question the legality and constitutionality (federal or state) of it all.

    I am not unwilling to help someone who needs it; I am no longer willing to accept being forced to help someone I do not desire to help.

    Benjamin Franklin said something to the effect-I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer-I support that point of view, myself.

    It cannot be good that government be involved in every aspect of our lives; the government can only continue to mess things up for us all.

  10. Teebow Brady on February 15th, 2012 6:53 am

    Well said Amy. It is through the grace of God that i am able to work and support my four children without public assistance. I dont mind paying taxes to help others who need it. Just because someone may need help doesnt mean they are second class citizens. Since some of these people really want to be good stewards of their tax dollars i say put the same stipulations on the salaries of government officials!!

  11. David Huie Green on February 15th, 2012 5:24 am

    “Eventually we will recreate history and the poor and unemployed are begging for help from people who do work, all while dying on the streets.”

    If we don’t buy Twinkies for them?

    I had no idea the slope was that slippery. It looks like the good people would be less likely to withhold help if they knew it was going to help the needy rather than the sweet tooth. Instead you tell us if we don’t buy folks Cokes, next year we’ll be throwing kids off cliffs. Let me know if that statement ever sounds silly to you.

    To me the interesting thing is that you think anyone can DEMAND other people supply their desires rather than appreciate having help with their needs.

    David for appreciation

  12. Amy352 on February 14th, 2012 10:25 pm

    How about this?! I work a full time job for 6 yrs. I spent 5000 dollars last year for daycare. I paid for that. I pay taxes on my house, car tag, and everything else. I have a house payment with insurance. Guess what?! I get food stamps. Not your typical low-life welfare slob after all. I am a white mother with one white child and an unemployed husband who is white.He exhausted his unemployment. He looks for jobs that our congress sends overseas to keep the rich ahead! Some of you people are idiots. I am a Louisiana native who can cook circles around most. If I want to serve sandwiches with chips one night a week I paid my taxes. If my baby wants a cookie, her daddy paid his share of taxes, too! I am still paying taxes. So now I want a say in how my money is spent! Even if it is on collards, limas, milk, oreos, or Dr. Pepper 10. Get us out of this recession so I don’t need EBT. Until then, Don’t like my peaches Don’t shake my tree! Amy the hard working, tax paying low life! Booyah!

  13. karen on February 14th, 2012 8:28 pm

    I love how everyone is saying we shouldn’t give assistance. really? Just because there are people out there who abuse it doesn’t mean we should end it all together. I am a hard working mom of a toddler whose dad doesn’t pay child support, and I get government assistance to help me feed myself and my daughter. So that my money can go towards putting a roof over our head and keeping my car running so that I can work in pensacola while living in walnut hill. I can understand why they want to cut out some of the junk but I think it will cause a mess in the end. I don’t know how people are gambling and buying liquor because my food stamps card won’t work on that kind of stuff, and if they are using cash assistance you will never stop them completely because they can withdraw the cash and spend it however they please. Don’t we have more important things to worry about than what kinds of food people with foodstamps are buying??

  14. Molino-Anon on February 14th, 2012 3:55 pm

    “It is interesting to consider that there are people who can’t distinguish a moral difference between withholding potato chips on demand and killing children.”

    Point is, we start controlling what people eat, what is next? Government assistance just happens to be the stepping stone. Next will be the tax payer, and the progression of control will continue to escalate.

    Meanwhile the casualties will be the people who really rely on the help.

    Eventually we will recreate history and the poor and unemployed are begging for help from people who do work, all while dying on the streets.

    Wait… that already happens too…

    You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am, just because you say it, doesn’t make it reality. Wake up.

  15. Football Mom of 3 on February 14th, 2012 3:53 pm

    Ok seriously?????? Not everyone on asistance is a lazy good for nothing slob. Yes, I do agree with that. But I also agree with the fact that cokes and chips are NOT necessary to raise children.

    I am not on assistance and have many times had to tell my kids “No, I dont have enough for the 2 liter and you can make tea when we get home.” I have read the argument on here that it’s not fair that just because children are on food stamps they cant have chips and Cokes. Well, how fair is it MINE cant have it becuase I’m NOT on assistance and cant afford the extra?

    Bottom line is, look at it like the government is the parent and the people on assistance are the children. The parents give the children $$ becuase they dont have enough or make their own, but the parents also get to say what is purchased with the $$ if they choose to do so. Just the way life is.

  16. self made on February 14th, 2012 2:26 pm

    over everything else going on with the comments about this, I have to say it amazes me to think how many people out there wouldn’t know how to survive on his/her own.
    I guess being farm raised and knowing how to grow my own HEALTHY and nutritious food for my kids has its benefits.

    And fyi
    “Kool Aid– has to have added sugar–” No it doesn’t. They sell it with sugar and they sell sugar free as well. Whats wrong with drinking plain water?

    “Frozen PIE shells- are filled with SWEETENED fruit—” Wrong. Why buy frozen pie shells to begin with? Second, there are tons of fruits out there that don’t need extra sugar. Third, use natural sweeteners – honey for example.

    “Fortified juices are mostly sugar—” Why not buy juicy juice. 100% juice.

    ” coffee has caffeine” It’s called decaf.

    “eggs have cholesterol” Depending on what time of the year it is, and which agenda you listen to, egss are either good or bad for you. Not too many farmers keeling over from blocked arteries though.

    Think back to how your great great grandparents lived. They didn’t have the ability to head to the local walmart to buy quick processed foods with no more nutritional value than the box they are in. They ate eggs, bacon, potatoes, meat, fruit, veggies. Most likely grown on land they owned or from a close-by neighbor or relative.
    I have a feeling that they would be ashamed of how we live today.

  17. art on February 14th, 2012 2:14 pm

    sheila rodgers, you are so right on.

  18. ProudArmyParent on February 14th, 2012 2:01 pm

    Just sayin’,
    You say that if you are away from home and needed to buy your children a quick snack and a drink that nothing would be available….well try fruit, granola bars, fruit juice, water, how about milk. All of these come in single serving sizes. Plus there is always the thought of planning ahead!
    And as for “too much government intervention,” we can put a stop to that by NOT providing any Government Aides at all! That just might be the answer, then we would have NO complaining on how our Government provides or what it provides. Just a thought!

  19. Working slob on February 14th, 2012 1:33 pm

    This has to be the silliest argument I have ever read.
    1. Charities always put restrictions on their gifts. Food stamps is government charity.
    2. Most people on the dole are white single mothers. Who is the racest?
    3. The average working person brings home a little over $32,000. The average for government charity (food stamps, housing, medical, etc.) a little over $34,000.
    4. Elderly and disabled receive assistance through SS and SSD. There can be and should be a carve out for those people.
    Why should there be no restrictions?
    Aid should be there a limited amount of time for those that need it until they can receive the training they need. We, as a country need to stop with the hand outs and begin giving hands up. Unfortunately, this is not what happens.

  20. David Huie Green on February 14th, 2012 12:47 pm

    “Next year, we should try to pass a bill to inspect infants and throw the defective ones off a cliff.”

    It is interesting to consider that there are people who can’t distinguish a moral difference between withholding potato chips on demand and killing children.

    Fascinating world we share with each other, isn’t it?

    David for distinctions

  21. no longer from bratt on February 14th, 2012 12:47 pm

    beggers can’t be choosers…

  22. Dishearted on February 14th, 2012 12:42 pm

    Do it like it was years ago, if it is taxable it cant be purchased on EBT card(food stamps)…

  23. David Huie Green on February 14th, 2012 12:40 pm

    “So we are all in agreement that because of a few “lazy, no working, slobs” the elderly and people with disabilities should be denied a few simple pleasures in the foods they choose to eat.”

    I don’t recall anyone saying so, but the other people don’t have to pleasure them for you. If they want to fulfill their every pleasure and desire, they are free to do so. If you want to service them, you are free to do so.

    There is supposedly a difference between need and desire. It would be wrong to take away what some might need to give what others simply desire.

    David for fulfilled desires
    even the one not to be robbed

  24. Don't Understand on February 14th, 2012 12:40 pm

    Milk, flour, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla = cake

    Brown sugar, eggs, butter, flour, vanilla, chocholate chips – cookies. Find someone to let you pick up peacans on halves and you can even have nuts in them!

    Fried Potato = french fries or chips

    Water, Milk, juice = drink

    If it were up to me there would not be any assitance of any kind, but come on, Little Debbie and Lays are entitled by food stamps.

  25. Sheila Rodgers on February 14th, 2012 12:34 pm

    Everyone is focusing on cookies, candy, chips and soda— Think a little further please. Kool Aid– has to have added sugar– Frozen PIE shells- are filled with SWEETENED fruit— Fortified juices are mostly sugar— coffee has caffeine, eggs have cholesterol, People are allergic to peanuts— Are you starting to think a little further? If the government starts entering our homes to tell us what we should or should not feed our kids, whats next?
    I agree that as Americans we are a self indulgent group of people but wheather you receive assisstance or not they should not be able to control the things we choose to eat!!!
    Bring HOME ECONOMICS back to the schools and educate our children to make better choices.

  26. Molino-Anon on February 14th, 2012 11:44 am

    So we are all in agreement that because of a few “lazy, no working, slobs” the elderly and people with disabilities should be denied a few simple pleasures in the foods they choose to eat. You know since we all pay taxes.

    Next year, we should try to pass a bill to inspect infants and throw the defective ones off a cliff.

    For SPARTA!

  27. David Huie Green on February 14th, 2012 10:57 am


    Nope, you’re still misusing that word. Please look up “socialism” and find out what it actually means. You’ll be surprised.

    “Give the assistants and leave it be, or don’t give the assistants at all; but don’t give it and tell people they can’t exercise their freedoms to buy a Twinkie!”

    An assistant is a person who assists. You can’t give people away. And yes, you can give aid with the stipulation it can only be used for certain things. You can give money with the requirement it not go for dope, whiskey, hookers or gambling. I know this is heartlessly cruel since many desire those pleasures, but it is so. All is not lost though, this assistance frees up other money so people can buy their Twinkies with it, so it’s all good.

    Even so, you’re not just giving your assistance, you’re taking money from others to help the needy. If people really need potato chips, that’s justification to take it from those who earned the money. If they just want potato chips, that’s not justified. You’re always free to personally provide, though.

    David for real liberality,
    not just stealing from third parties
    for other parties

  28. JEA on February 14th, 2012 9:39 am

    I have been extremely blessed in that I have not needed government assistance. I have a full time job and my kids’ dad does pay child support.
    I have seen this several times where we are behind people at Walmart or even a Tom Thumb and have seen them pay for tons of junk food with their government cards, while wearing their name brand clothing. Then pay cash for their cigarettes and lotto tickets and walk out to their expensive cars. And most of them look like they could definitely use more fruit and veggies in their diets.
    I have recently changed our diets and believe it or not, it’s actually a little cheaper to buy healthier foods, especially for their lunches.
    On a side note, we have a lot of issues with kids with behavior problems and ADHD, more so than we used to. Ask any parent of an ADHD kid, diet is huge! Get kids off the processed foods and away from all the sugar and on to a healthier diet and it’s better for everyone.

  29. self mande on February 14th, 2012 8:50 am

    Lesson for the day:

    assistance –
    The act of assisting.

    A person who assists.

  30. Molino Mom on February 14th, 2012 8:40 am

    Chips, soda and candy are not necessities. If people on public assistance want this, let them pay for it. Public assistance was not meant to be a ‘way of life’, it was intended for temporary assistance. Hence, TANF, temporary assistance for Needy Familes. Yes, it may be sad that the government might be able to tell you how to spend your food stamps, but that should be the condition if you accept the help.

  31. Self made on February 14th, 2012 8:37 am

    Molino-anon – “Just for a moment escape your small town and borderline racist way of thinking, and think about the broader picture”

    Ahh, the desperate cry of todays entitlement society.
    How is it even hinting at ‘racism’?
    It’s not – the race card is just a jumping point to garner attention to an otherwise empty can. (You do know the empty can rattles the most, right?)
    And I wouldn’t trade my ’small town’ life for anything.

  32. Cantonment mom on February 14th, 2012 8:25 am

    All I keep hearing is “government intervention”. That’s right it is government intervention that people are getting when they get food stamps. When you get money from the government, the government is going to tell you what you can use it for. It is NOT free money. When you are spending MY MONEY (taxes I have to work hard to pay), I should be able to say how MY MONEY is spent.

    To “Just sayin’” really you said this, ” The fruit might be more healthy but a bag of chips would probably be more filling. Either way, you wouldn’t be able to buy anything for them to drink.” Are you that ignorant. First off fruit is much more filling and second, there are other drinks out there that are not soda. They include water & juice. I hope you have not already, or will not any time soon, have children.

  33. Molino-Anon on February 14th, 2012 7:55 am

    Again, to all those who are saying “get out and work for the chips,” really… are most of you that narrow-minded? Not everyone on food assistants can work, a large portion are people who are disabled or elderly and CAN NOT WORK!

    Just for a moment escape your small town and borderline racist way of thinking, and think about the broader picture.

    So what you have to work and pay taxes! Guess what if you’re working then you are ABLE TO WORK. Your tax money will be taken out and used regardless if it’s helping a poor family, or buying a couch for your congressman’s office (which you wouldn’t know about).

    The system is broken, it needs a revamp, starting with people able to work being taken off the assistants, or cut off after X time and no job. Then with all that money saved have mandatory nutrition classes for those applying for the assistants. Afterwards everyone can have chips or a soda if they still want it.

    I’m sick of seeing some people referring to those who get assistants as slobs, lazy, etc. I hate to tell you not everyone fits into your delusional bubble of reality.

  34. Fairlane63 on February 14th, 2012 7:37 am

    “Hudson said he opposed the limits for reasons of ‘personal freedom’…”

    What about my freedom to not have the money I worked for stolen from me by the government and then given to lazy parasites? It doesn’t look like Mr. Hudson is very concerned about that particular freedom…

  35. Molino-Anon on February 14th, 2012 7:30 am

    HAHAHA! I knew this would happen when I first read about this totalitarian bull several weeks ago.

    Give the assistants and leave it be, or don’t give the assistants at all; but don’t give it and tell people they can’t exercise their freedoms to buy a twinkie!

  36. carolyn bramblett on February 14th, 2012 7:22 am

    I cannot believe the stupidity of what I just read. No gov’t subsidies should be able to be used for any junk food. A jug of milk and piece of fruit? Is that difficult? If the recipients of the dole don’t like it then they can just go get jobs and take care of themselves and their own children.

  37. Kathy on February 14th, 2012 6:59 am

    REPUBLICAN SOCIALISM at work. Now the REPUBs will tell you how to eat and force on you what you can and cannot eat but of course only if your poor or is it the beginning of them taking over everyone’s life. Think about it.

  38. intervention required on February 14th, 2012 5:51 am

    intervene now or give it up,.. maybe there should be commodity stores , and if you have a card , it would only be good at that store , and that store would only have commodities , which would be staples,,,,. . its gotten outta hand , and somebody oughta be dealing with it , rather than throwing money at it.

  39. David Huie Green on February 14th, 2012 5:28 am

    fighting over potato chips

    how mature

  40. IMHO on February 14th, 2012 4:01 am

    My 2 children are asked to bring “junk food” to school all the time for whatever holiday party they’re having… I also make sure my kids get healthy meals daily and rarely buy junk for the house. But occasionally it is a nice treat. From the prospective of a child, don’t you think they would feel punished if they never got a dessert every once in a while or something.. how many of you critics completely do without these things? I do understand that some parents are lazy, won’t cook and would rather fill their kids with junk, but as for me and mine, this isn’t the case. For those who have sterotyped people on assistance, just because I get food stamps doesn’t mean I’m lazy.. I’m a single mom who doesn’t receive any help from their dad, so it is definitely a blessing.

  41. Just My Opinion on February 14th, 2012 2:25 am

    I think if they put a restriction on the items that they’ve mentioned, then many of the people who receive these benefits would just “sell” them for the cash that they need to get the restricted items.

  42. dad on February 14th, 2012 1:38 am

    Just sayin’ How can it be too much government intervention when the money comes from the government? If the governemnt wasn’t intervening they wouldn’t get any SNAP money to begin with.
    BTW this hypothetical person you bring up could buy their kids milk or, god forbid, plan ahead and pack something even. But that might take more effort than running into a convenience store and buying junk and we can’t have that.

  43. Just sayin' on February 14th, 2012 12:34 am

    I understand the purpose of this, but I can see it hurting poor families also. Say for example that you are away from home all day with your children for doctor appointments, errands, whatever. You need to give your kids something to eat. You don’t have any money, just your SNAP benefits. While it would be possible to buy your child some fruit, what will they drink with that? The fruit might be more healthy but a bag of chips would probably be more filling. Either way, you wouldn’t be able to buy anything for them to drink.
    Next they’ll be adding sugar, bread, flour and red meats to that list. After all, each of those can be bad for you too.
    As I said, I understand the purpose, but I think it’s just the beginning of too much government intervention.