AR lawmaker seeks to eliminate junk food from food stamp purchas - Montgomery Alabama news.

AR lawmaker seeks to eliminate junk food from food stamp purchases

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

Soft drinks, candy bars, and potato chips are all snacks that are at risk of losing their food stamp coverage.

A proposed bill in Arkansas would ban people in the state from purchasing junk food with their food stamps. The proposal has left many people benefiting from food stamps confused.

Some residents said lawmakers should not restrict what kind of food people can purchase with the food stamps.

"I think they should not do that, because sometime you want a little snack every now and then," Ellen Jones said.

But not everyone agrees with Jones.

"If you got kids and you're getting food stamps, that junk food is not going to hold them. They need some solid meats," Priscilla Graves said.

Some people, like Richard Thomas, who have used food stamps in the past disagree with the restrictions.

"I think that's up to the consumer," Thomas said.

Thomas has four children and recently had to use food stamps in order to feed his family.

"If you feel like you need to lose weight, then buy you some carrots, some broccoli, but if not, then have at it. It's your life," Thomas said.

The bill was proposed by Representative Mary Bentley from Perryville, Arkansas. 

However, the bill is not specific as to what would be considered junk food. It's not clear what type of food would not be allowed for purchase.

The bill said it would be up to the state Department of Human Services to specify what 'junk food' would not be allowed, using federal guidelines.

"Limit soft drinks, candy bars. We want to encourage folks to get things that they can take home and make a meal for their families," Rep. Bentley said.

Rep. Bentley said the bill is about more than just specifying what someone can and cannot purchase. It's about health and the cost the state incurs.

Arkansas is the sixth-most obese state in the union, according to a recent study. The state spends $1.25 billion tax dollars on obesity related care through Medicaid and Medicare. That's something Rep. Bentley wants to help decrease through her proposed bill.

The bill has a long path to travel before restrictions will be put in place. It was just recently introduced and will be up for consideration when the legislature convenes for session next year.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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