TALLAHASSEE — Floridians could not use food stamps to buy soft drinks, candy bars or other junk food under a bill that survived contentious debate among members of a Senate panel Wednesday.
The bill would expand the list of items banned by the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which bans few items other than alcohol and tobacco.
“The taxpayer has a low toleration for those who are standing in line with two packs of soda and a bottle of Mountain Dew,” said Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, the sponsor of SB 1658.
The bill would also prevent people from using their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards at ATMs in casinos or strip clubs or from accessing cash out of state.
“There have been instances of people using their cards to go to Vegas,” Storms said.
At least three senators expressed concern that the state would be overstepping its reach and “playing Godfather” by regulating food.
“I don’t think it’s fair that if you’re poor your kid can’t have a birthday cake or a cupcake,” said Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice.
“They can have cake,” Storms shot back. “You can buy flour, eggs and sugar, and that makes a cake. I make my kids their own cakes.”
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