Junk food ban for food stamps fails in Arkansas House

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)   An effort to ban food stamps from being used to purchase soda or junk food has failed before the Arkansas House.

The proposal to ban Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits from being used to purchase candy, soft drinks or energy drinks failed Monday on a 37-29 vote. The lawmaker behind the bill says the measure would encourage the purchase of healthy products among SNAP recipients.

The ban also would have required federal approval.

Online records indicate Representatives Nelda Speaks of Mountain Home, Jack Fortner of Yellville and John Payton of Wilburn voted in support of the bill, and Representative Marsh Davis of Cherokee Village voted against it. Michelle Gray of Melbourne was one of 26 representatives not voting on the measure

Opponents say the ban would be unfair to SNAP recipients and would be too costly for retailers to enforce. The House passed a similar measure two years ago, but it did not advance in the Senate. More than 360,000 people participate in the food stamp program in Arkansas.

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