Wisconsin Assembly OKs restrictions on food stamp junk food

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a Republican bill that would create a pilot program to prohibit the use of food stamps for purchasing junk food.

The Assembly passed the proposal on a voice vote Thursday, sending the measure on to the Senate.

The bill would require the state to identify food and beverages that lack nutritional value and restrict the use of FoodShare benefits to purchase them.

A federal waiver to conduct the program would likely be needed.

Critics argue such restrictions will not improve the health of food stamp recipients, would be costly to administer and increase the cost of food. Opponents include groups that work with the poor, the Wisconsin Grocers Association and other food industry organizations.

No one has registered in support of the Republican-backed measure, which must also pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law.

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