Tennessee lawmaker wants to prohibit food stamps for ice cream, soft drinks

Tennessee lawmaker wants to prohibit food stamps for ice cream, soft drinks

January 16th, 2017 by Associated Press in Politics State

The Nine Brothers convenience store on 38th Street in Alton Park has a large hand-painted sign announcing that they accept food stamps and WIC vouchers in this 2007 file photo.

Shelia Butt, Tennessee State Representative from Columbia.

Shelia Butt, Tennessee State Representative from Columbia.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee lawmaker has introduced legislation seeking to ban the use of food stamps to buy items without nutritional value.

Republican Rep. Sheila Butt of Columbia says banned items would be those high in calories, sugar and fat, such as sodas, ice cream, candy, cookies and cake. The measure would also prohibit grocers from selling banned items to people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Butt's bill would require the state Department of Human Services to seek a waiver from the federal government to establish a list of which food items would be banned for food stamp recipients, using the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a guide.

More than 1 million Tennesseans received food stamp assistance as of November, totaling nearly $135 million.