Legislative Update: Tuesday, Jan. 17

Bill would ban energy drinks from SNAP purchases

By Cole Grant

Montanans who get get government help buying food won’t be able to use benefits to buy energy drinks if House Bill 153 passes the Montana Legislature.

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Vince Ricci

Rep. Vince Ricci, R-Laurel, explained his interpretation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP: “It is designed to stretch your food budget and buy healthy food. So my reason for bringing this bill is I don’t see energy drinks as being a healthy food.”

Rep. Jessica Karjala, D-Billings opposes the bill.

“I just think that really, the point of this legislation is to have the conversation, and to plant that idea in people’s minds that poor people don’t have good discretion, that they’re not responsible for making good choices with their money,” she said. “It’s vilification of the poor.”

The House Human Services Committee will hear HB 153 Wednesday afternoon.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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