FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Two Florida lawmakers say now is the time to stop people from abusing taxpayer money. In addition to banning where people can use their electronic benefit cards, a new bill is banning what you can buy.
Senator Rhonda Storms of Valrico says EBT dollars are intended to help struggling families. In most cases, she believes the money is being use appropriately but she doesn't think it should be used on junk food, like chips and candy. But in southwest Florida not everyone agrees with that.
Edie Brown considers herself a health nut but from time to time she enjoys a break from the norm.
"I do think you do need to have some pleasure sometime. Every now and then I have me some ice cream and potato chips," said Brown.
Chips, candy, soda. Some call it comfort food, others call it junk food. But whatever you call it, a Florida senator may stop you from using an EBT card to buy it. Senator Ronda Storms of Valrico believes food stamps should be used for healthy foods such as bread and fruit but not used for ice cream or pet food.
"Most individuals using public assistance dollars are using the funds to get by and to provide for their families but there is no excuse for misusing assistance dollars, and we have to make changes to the law to ensure this does not continue," said Storms.
Not everyone in southwest Florida agrees.
"I know that its not the best food for you but every now and then I don't think it hurts," said Schoene Rudolph Gary.
"There is just too much going out over the counter. The pop and potato chips and all that, they don't need it. They wonder why the children are getting so big," said Joanne Douglas.
The bill Storms' is trying to pass would also require DCF to add unhealthy foods to the list of items that cannot be bought with the EBT cards. As for Brown, she believes a little bit of a relaxed diet is not a problem from time to time.
"I do think that they should be able to buy good food and some pleasurable foods," said Brown.
While the bill is being debated, it's possible that the part banning junk food purchases will get cut to get it to the floor of the state legislature.
This has sparked a discussion on our Facebook page. To join in the discussion, log on to http://www.facebook.com/winknewstv