New Arkansas bill would ban food stamp recipients from buying 'luxury' food items

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A new bill was introduced in the Arkansas House of Representatives on Monday that would prohibit food stamp recipients from buying what the bill calls "luxury food items."

House Bill 2148, introduced by Representative Clint Penzo (R-Springdale), would ban Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients from buying food that is not "conductive" or may be "injurious" to human health. The bill also looks to ban foods that are "high in calories, sugar, and fat with negligible nutritional value."

A similar bill, HB1035, has been making its way through the Arkansas legislature. That bill would only allow recipients to only use food stamps on food or drinks that are considered "healthy foods."

HB1035 passed the House by a vote of 55-39 in January, but has been stuck in the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor.

Penzo also introduced HB2150 which would create an incentive program for the SNAP program. It would offer an increase in benefits to those who would buy healthy foods. Food stamp users would be eligible for the increase if they buy fresh fruit without added sugars, fresh vegetables except white potatoes, or any variety of frozen fruits without added sugars.

It's not clear at this time which foods Penzo would define as "luxury food items," but the intent of his bill seems similar to the "healthy foods" bill.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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