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Republicans quietly introduce bills that would affect those who use food stamps, unemployment benefits

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MADISON (AP) — Republicans have quietly introduced three bills that would require food stamp users to buy healthy food and applicants for state job training programs and unemployment benefits in certain fields to undergo drug screening.

Rep. Robert Brooks’ bill would require food stamp users to use at least two-thirds of their monthly allotment to purchase nutritional foods. They would be banned from purchasing crab, lobster or shrimp.

Rep. Mike Rohrkaste, meanwhile, has introduced a bill that would require applicants for a number of job training programs to submit to drug screening. He’s got another bill that would require unemployment benefit applicants to submit to drug screens if they want work in occupations that require drug tests.

The Assembly’s Public Benefits Reform Committee has scheduled a hearing Thursday on all three bills.


  • John Schroeder

    not unreasonable to expedite workers through hiring process having a clean drug test and sponsored job training free which usually includes job placement! give up the drugs and get a good job. food stamp foods should as well be listed which will promote healthy habits. folks can find they’re own way to buy naughty items like the candy, cakes, and alcohol!! we lose too much production and lives due to drugs over jobs. why do you think the aliens are getting all the jobs –clean and sober with healthy eating and work habits. i have witnessed this over last 35 years-Amen!!!

    • Kaiser Vadin

      How to make potato chips …. Step 1: Buy potatos … Step 2: cut potatos step 3: Fry cut potatos step 4: enjoy chips and fries !

      Can be as good as lays if done right !

  • angie

    I dont think there is anything wrong with buying healthy food yes i like to get my kids treats but i think buying healthy is a good thing

  • Janet Lynn Howell

    If you are physically/mentally capable of working then you need to find a way to wean off the program. And as far as drug screening. ANYthing tied to taxpayer dollars they should be screened. Heck, in the military it’s a requirement. In other jobs it’s a requirement. I think you lose a bit of your anonymity when you accept government assistance.

    • Kaiser Vadin

      I agree with you janet but with people like me that have seizures its kind of hard as we got to put 100% of our focus on shaking fits when it might turn into a full blown seizure.

  • Ardith Richter

    if you have every been on UC you have the ability to go to classes and pick up a ton of free money.. if you are under a certain age and a certain color range.. and the unemployment benefit applicants to submit to drug screens if they want work in occupations that require drug tests. to have to do this why not.. to have a new job you have to submit to a drug test..

  • Denise Brooks-Henning

    Any business that require drug tests usually pay for them. The majority of the people that propose that type of thing need to be screened for drugs and alcohol abuse. I don’t know of any state whose vendors that accept a food stamp card for payment for alcohol. Most people no matter if you working or receive some type of assistance cannot afford to eat healthy meals every day that have limited incomes . Fresh fruit and veggies are really expensive , most processed foods are cheaper and not nutritious. He is not informed as to the amount most people receive, I think he would shocked. I think he would be shocked at the amount most people on unemployment get. It does not even cover their rent or mortgage , so why would you think that people want to live like that losing their homes, cars etc. Sir you need a reality check.

    • Kaiser Vadin

      It cost $4 for a small make it yourself salad and $6+ for a big make it yourself salad …. salad and produce is not cheap the only salad that is cheap is the $1 bag stuff and that stuff is not as good as the make yourself stuff at stores !

  • Tool Service

    There is a moral tone to this bill that sounds good and feels good. However, you have to look closer. The video above states that the intent of the bill is that 2/3 of what people buy is healthy and not causing the person to have health problems. While it is true that proponents claim this, yet it is not true that is bill accomplishes that. There are many healthy foods and indifferent foods left off the list, such as spices, virtually all organic foods, reduced fat or lower calorie varieties (regular peanut butter is ok but not reduced fat peanut butter), dried beans, pasta sauce, ketchup, etc.

    Many people have diet restrictions that make the foods on the list of what is claimed to be “healthy” very unhealthy for them in reality. For example, what is a person with Celiac’s supposed to do when the only type of bread or rolls the allow is wheat bread??? Should this bill go through many healthy foods will be restricted

    Then you also have the question of who determines what is healthy? Do we let the FDA, federal government, state government, or any other bureaucracy dictate to citizens what is healthy??? There are so many diets out there what is healthy is The list of items were pulled off the WIC list (Women’s, infants, children) and these foods do not apply to the elderly, men, or teenagers. There are way too many intangibles that make the list of foods.

    There is a cost consequence as a result of this bill too. Why can’t a family buy mutton when it is on clearance, or buffalo or another meat? Why can’t they buy in bulk to stretch funds further? Can a family not make multiple lasagnas or their own seasonings in bulk (which also are all natural and healthier)? This bill is a defnite deterrent to the resourcefulness of the people on the program.

    It would have been best served to eliminate the obvious junk food items like pop, chips, etc. This bill has unintended consequences that were not thought through. Add in the $55.5 million in start up costs for a a state who the author of this bill says has a “cr@p budget” and it is just more shocking.

    It is very disconcerning to know that the author of this bill is a freshman lawmaker who’s principal occupation is tavern owner. That fact combined with the photos of his physique are not very reassuring for him to be determining what is healthy. The results show with the open questions above.

    Listening to his court testimony it does not appear that he is a good judge of what is fraudulent or not either. If you’re interested in viewing and hearing for yourself it is attached here…

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