The Senate Public Health committee today rejected a bill by Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville) that would forbid using SNAP benefits to purchase unhealthy foods. No word at the moment on whether Bentley will try to bring the measure back.
Bentley’s House Bill 1035 previously passed the House 55-39, amid opposition from the Democratic minority as well as some Republicans who objected to the idea of imposing more regulations on retailers and restricting individuals’ food purchases.
The opposition of grocers such as Walmart and other business interests may have helped defeat the measure in the Senate committee today.
The bill would mandate that the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program “shall only allow benefits to be used only for foods, food products, and beverages that have sufficient nutritional value.” The state’s Department of Health would be charged with determining what products qualify as having sufficient nutritional value based upon the standards for another food aid program, the Women, Infant and Children Program (WIC).