CBS Local — Food stamp recipients in Florida may face new regulations on what they can and can’t buy with their federal aid. A bill filed in the state on August 18 is looking to ban residents using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from buying soda pop.
Rep. Ralph Massullo, a republican in the Florida House of Representatives, has been arguing for months that the use of government assistance should not include buying unhealthy snacks.
“The fact that we’re allowing junk food as the most common purchased item leads to non-nutritional states and disease,” Massullo said, via the Miami Herald. “I don’t want the government to get into the nitty-gritty of our lives, but I also don’t want government making us sick.”
If the bill is passed, the Department of Children and Families would still need to receive federal approval before Florida could ban food stamps from being used on soft drinks. If approved, the ban would go into effect on July 1, 2018.
The Florida bill is the latest attempt by local governments to curb the sale of sugary beverages. Several cities, like Philadelphia, have imposed higher taxes on sweetened drinks. The move has been met with fierce resistance, particularly from local businesses and restaurants, who claim the higher costs have already led to employee layoffs. A ban on larger-sized sugary drinks in New York City was struck down by a judge in 2013.