Assembly gavels in, passes FoodShare bill aiming to promote healthy eating

QUORUM CALL

Shortly after gaveling in this afternoon, the Assembly signed off on a FoodShare bill that looks to promote healthy eating.

The bill, which has gained bipartisan cosponsors, passed on a 92-1 vote, with only Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, voting against it.

The legislation would create a healthy eating incentive pilot program that would provide discounts or coupons to 2,000 FoodShare households on fresh produce and other healthy foods. That program would be administered by the Department of Health Services.

Bill co-author Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, has previously said of the 2,000 FoodShare households that would voluntarily participate in the 10-month pilot program, 1,000 would be in Milwaukee, 500 would be in Dane County and the remaining 500 would be in rural areas.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, speaking to reporters prior to the floor session, also said he expected an additional FoodShare bill also looking to promote healthy eating would come up in January.

Under that bill, DHS would be required to conduct a pilot program to study whether the state should limit FoodShare benefits only for purchases with “sufficient nutritional value.”

Vos, R-Rochester, also said other welfare reform bills would likely be up in January, including one that would require DHS to submit a plan and waiver request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add photos to EBT cards in an effort to, minimize fraud according to the cosponsorship email from the bill author.

A similar bill passed the Assembly last session but died in the Senate.

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