UPDATE: Wis. Assembly approves junk food stamps bill
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- -
Some changes could be coming to Wisconsin's food stamp program.
The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a bill that would limit the amount of money spent on junk food.
If the bill is passed, if would require people enrolled in the program to spend at least two-thirds of their benefits on healthy foods like milk, bread, and vegetables.
"Right now you can buy soda, you can buy chips, things like that," said Jane Huebsch. "Whatever you wish, and it's edible, you can get with the food share program."
Huebsch works for the Marathon County Department of Social Services.She says the county spends almost $2 million every month on food stamps. But she says the department only determines who is eligible, not how they spend their money. That's done at the checkout line.
"They just come through the line and they swipe their card, just like a credit card, and it pays for the food," said Mary Gaiche, Crossroads County Market Store Manager.
Stores, like Crossroads County Market, use computer software to determine what foods can be purchased under the program.
But those guidelines would change if the bill passes, limiting junk food.
"It shouldn't affect business much," said Gaiche. "It will affect what they purchase."
Supporters of the bill say recipients should only use tax payer money to eat responsibly. Opponents argue it will be difficult and expensive.