A House bill intended to stop the use of food aid cards in Internet cafes and places that sell liquor may also ban the use of the cards for purchasing unhealthy foods, News-Press.com reported.
The bill, HB 140 sponsored by Rep. Scott Plakon, was approved by a House committee Monday by an 8-6 vote. The bill could prevent members of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from buying foods like muffins and ice cream, according to News-Press.
"This is money being taken from one taxpayer, and out of compassion being given to another," Plakon was quoted as saying. "So I think it’s entirely reasonable for the legislature to put restrictions."
But some House members are concerned with whether or not they have the power to decide what the people can eat.
"I understand what drove him to file this bill, and it’s getting Internet cafes under control,” Rep. Dana Young, who voted for the bill, was quoted as saying. “But I don’t want people telling me what to eat and I don’t think it’s right for us as a government – even if they happen to be poor. Even if they happen to be on food stamps."
Opponents of the bill argued that it would prevent using food aid in drugstores that sell liquor. The Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Beverage Association were both in Tallahassee to oppose the bill, according to News-Press.
But Plakon says changes to the bill are still possible.
"I suspect for the good parts to move forward, I’m going to have to make some substantive changes," Plakon said. "They clearly want the food stamp portion removed, and that may very well happen."