Eau Claire residents weigh in on junk food stamps bill - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire residents weigh in on junk food stamps bill


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Lawmakers approve a bill that limits how much junk food can be bought with food stamps. Last year, Eau Claire County had 20,000 people eligible for FoodShare.

Eau Claire resident, Jim Schumacher, says, "I don't think it's any of our business what people buy with the food stamps that they're qualified for."

Ed Hudgins, an Eau Claire resident, says, "Potato chips aren't healthy, they're not good for anybody, everybody pretty much agrees on that. So, I'm really ok if you can't buy potato chips or pop, or things like that on FoodShare."

The bill would require people enrolled in the states' FoodShare program to spend at least two thirds of their monthly benefits on items like milk, bread, and vegetables.

Eau Claire County Economic Support Manager, Linda Struck, says, "Right now the system knows that you can't purchase cleaning supplies, and it knows you can't purchase diapers, and so on and so forth. It has to be food. If the system's not sophisticated enough, or the individuals don't know what's considered healthy or not healthy, I think a challenge could be getting in line at that grocery store, and having the clerk say, out of pocket you owe a hundred dollars when maybe you don't have that."

Eau Claire County Human Services says the state has come along way in the past ten years, moving away from stamps. Struck says, "Where everybody knew you were on FoodShare when you were in line because that's what you're paying with, to now it looks like a credit card. So, hopefully they won't take a step backwards in identifying the individuals who are on the program."

In Eau Claire County, the amount of people on FoodShare has more than tripled since 2000. Human services says the economy is just one of many factors. "The state did some program simplification, reducing some requirements that individuals needed, reducing some asset information. And then they also did a big outreach effort," says Struck.  

Supporters of the bill believe the taxpayer funded stamps should be used responsibly, democrats argue it may be too difficult and expensive to implement. 

Eau Claire resident, Dave Sanford, says, "Personally, I think it's a loss of liberty."

"Well if you see a lot of processed food and things coming through… I think there's better choices for where the money can go and make for a healthier consumer and person," says Eau Claire resident, Cliff Tickler.  

The bill brings state law into line with the federal government's new expanded definition of food stamp trafficking.  The bill is now headed to the state senate.

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