Wis. Senate passes food stamp trafficking bill

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Senate has approved a bill that would expand definitions in state law of what constitutes illegal food stamp trafficking in Wisconsin.

The Republican-backed proposal brings state law into line with the federal government's new expanded definition of food stamp trafficking. That refers to the illegal buying, selling or transferring of food stamp benefits for cash or other unlawful purposes.

The Senate approved the bill on a 28-5 vote Tuesday. The measure passed the Assembly with bipartisan support in April. It now goes to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Trafficking occurs in most cases when food stamp recipients sell their benefit cards online and in the open market and then apply for free replacements.

About 15 percent of Wisconsin's population, or 850,000 people, received food stamp benefits in February.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would limit the amount of food stamp benefits that could be spent on junk food.

The proposal up for a vote Tuesday would require people enrolled in the state's food stamps program to spend at least two-thirds of their monthly benefits on items such as milk, bread and vegetables. They could spend their remaining benefits on any authorized food.

The measure passed out of a committee last week despite opponents representing food companies, grocery stores and food banks. They argue the new restrictions would shame food stamp recipients and burden businesses with enforcement.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Dean Kaufert says because food stamp benefits are paid by taxpayers, recipients should use them wisely to eat healthier.


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