W.Va. Bill Targets Soft Drinks Through Food Stamps

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Some West Virginia lawmakers are targeting the state's health woes by proposing limits on federal food stamp benefits.

Close to one-in-five state residents receive benefits from what's now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Legislation introduced Friday would bar the purchase of sugary soft drinks or carbonated beverages with SNAP benefits.

Republican Delegates John Ellem and Eric Householder co-sponsored the bill. Ellem said a goal is to steer this spending of taxpayer dollars toward healthier food choices.

Nearly a third of West Virginians are considered obese. The state also ranks high for diabetes and heart disease.

The proposal's hurdles include winning federal approval. One advocacy group says such a waiver has never been granted.

Other states have pursued SNAP limits. South Carolina launched an effort earlier this week.