CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Limits could be put on how food stamps are spent in West Virginia with a bill that’s pending at the State Capitol.

Sen. Ron Stollings (D-Boone, 7) said the proposal would allow West Virginia to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prevent food stamps, now called SNAP benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, from being used for purchases of soda pop and other sugary drinks.

“We’re taking a bite of the apple here by not being able to buy pop, Mello Yello, things like that,” said Stollings.  “This could have a behavior changing and, I think, a positive health outcome.”

Stollings, who is a doctor, said such a step would make sense in West Virginia for health and financial reasons.

“We have an oral health problem and we have an obesity problem,” he said.  “Basically, we’re paying for this twice.  Federal tax dollars pay for pop (through SNAP) and that causes us to be overweight and have poor dentition and then Medicaid costs then follow obesity.”

Up to now, the USDA has approved no such waivers for SNAP in other states, but Stollings said he thinks West Virginia could serve as a good pilot project location, especially with an effort that is narrowly focused on limiting sugary drink purchases.

Stollings is the chairman of the Senate Health and Human Resources which has not yet addressed SB 262.

The 2014 Regular Legislative Session continues through Saturday, March 8.

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  • jon

    I worked in a grocery store and witnesses these benefits used to purchase junk food such as soda, candy, and pizzas. I think all should be banned for use with SNAP.

    • wvtd

      please do it. when you see the welfare folks loading mtn dew in their carts by the case you know it is the first of the month.

  • wvfreys

    Stupid idea

  • jfk

    you mean folks can use food stamps to buy soda?! this should have been stopped years ago!
    I remember growing up in my elementary years drinking a soda was a treat. Daily we got juice, milk, water & cool-aide.

  • hilljack

    They will just sell more of their SNAP benefits for cash to purchase cola like they do cigarettes, beer and drugs.

  • Realist

    Really jojo??Im glad you know everyone thats on food stamps...Saying all people on food stamps dont know how to eat properly cause there poor is a good example of the modern day racisim...Civil rights groups need to get with it cause its not discrimination against color anymore...I agree people should not consume so much soda..However this will do nuthing to stop people from purchasing soda....Even poor starving third world countrys love there coke..

    • WV Worker

      You believe his comments are an example of racism. I must have missed his remark about "color".

    • Shawn H

      He didn't say all. He said so many. And please learn the difference between there, they're, and their.

  • Fentanyl Bomb

    While I agree with the premise of such a restriction of SNAP benefits, it is essentially a non-starter.

    Our lawmakers looked the other way on pseudoephedrine restrictions with a relatively tiny amount of lobbying by the OTC medicine groups.

    There is absolutely no way that the soda industry and their friends will allow the purchasing power of so many West Virginians to be reduced, it doesn't matter to them who pays for it.

    Their lobbyists will be ready with bags of cash and the lawmakers will be whistling down the halls sipping on a 2 liter of Coke.

    Book it. Done.

  • Craig

    Am I reading this right? We have a democrat actually proposing to limit, and or retract something from welfare. I am sure if one gets to the meat of the bill you will find that instead of paying for pop, the welfare card will now pay for xbox games, transformers, and or playing cards. Let's follow this one closely.

  • griff

    Good idea eliminate the soda pop & candy. Bring on drug screening as well

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Mountain Dew stock will plummet.

  • Dave

    Good idea. These people don't need to spend the working man's tax dollars on soft drinks. Stop coddling these people. Stop making welfare such a damne easy road to being lazy and sitting on your damn rear end all day.

    I'm sick of it.

    • Working mom

      That's right, limit what "these people" can buy with the "working man's" dollar.... Oh wait, most of the people who are on welfare work their asses off and just need assistance in feeding their families..... I for one have taken advantage of the welfare system that I've paid into for 15 years a time or two through my years as a single mother.... My child doesn't drink pop, but I would like a little caffeine here & there... I didn't know that was such a horrible thing.... SNAP isn't where the budget cuts need to take place.... It's actually a small percentage of the state's budget... This is just a screen to keep constituents from focusing on where our tax dollars are really going.... Besides, what does someone else drinking a damn pop do to hurt you?

      • wvtd

        most people on welfare work their asses off? then why are they on welfare? I work and do not receive welfare and am proud of it. I bet you live rent free or rent assisted to? I wonder who pays for that, Obama phone too? I wonder who pays for that. I want to keep my money and not pay for your life's mistakes.

  • Ed Wouldn't

    Can we get drug tests for welfare first?

    No, wait, that would be infringing on people's rights ...

    • Aaron

      Why? Do you really want to spend $5 to save $1? It's been proven that the cost FAR outweighs the benefit?

      • Jason412

        Not to mention someone determined enough could do meth, coke and heroin from the 1st to the 21st and pass a drug test on the 30th.

  • Backwards

    I really hope this passes, but not until WVAW gets the water thing straightened out. At this point guzzling pop is safer than taking a sip from the tap in this neck of the woods.

  • JJ

    Common sense

  • jojo

    What a great idea !!!! So many that get snap live an unhealthy lifestyle. Sit around, eat snacks and drink soda all day long. They don't really know how to buy and properly prepare healthy meals. Perhaps if this passes other restrictions will come .

    • Working mom

      I know plenty of people who use the benefits properly and provide healthy meals for their families.... I'm glad you know what "all" the people with welfare do with the benefits... You must be psychic

      • wvtd

        for every 1 that try's to spend their welfare correctly 7 do not. anyone with eyes to see knows what goes on at the first of the month when the lazy welfare rats get their "pay".

  • leroy jethro gibbs

    aclu will probably block it