House panel rejects ban on using food stamps for sweets

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A Florida House panel has rejected a proposal to ban using food stamps to purchase sweets, potato chips and other junk food.

An appropriations subcommittee on Monday stripped the provision from a bill (HB 1401) that also would ban welfare recipients from using debit-like cards to access cash benefits outside of Florida or at strip clubs, liquor stores, bars and gambling establishments.

The panel then approved the truncated bill 9-5.

The ban on sweets had been sponsored by Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico.

Several members who voted for it, though, warned the sponsor they would oppose a similar Senate-passed bill (SB 1658) that still contains the food stamp provision or any effort to restore the ban to the House version.

Opponents of the proposed food stamp limits said it would infringe on recipients’ freedom of choice.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.