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New York Lawmaker Vows to Ban Food Stamp Recipients from Buying Steak, Lobster, Candy

Republican State Senator Patty Ritchie of New York introduced a bill that would prohibit food stamp recipients from using their benefits to buy lobster, steak, and candy bars.

“Many of these items aren’t just unhealthy,” Ritchie said in a statement about her proposal, “they’re also expensive.”

New York state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) already forbids food stamp recipients from making non-food purchases for alcohol and tobacco products.

Ritchie wants to expand the current law to cover what she calls “luxury food items,” like cakes and energy drinks.

Currently, federal law prohibits states from regulating SNAP benefits.

The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 allowed nearly every food item to be purchased with SNAP benefits. The USDA says federal legislation is needed to change its current definition of “food.”

New York is the latest state seeking to make changes to its SNAP laws.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson

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