Two bills filed by South Texas Democrats would prohibit individuals from using the state’s food stamp program to purchase energy drinks and junk food such as candy, chips and cookies.
Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) is a needs-based program to assist Texans who work more than 20 hours a week or are disabled or pregnant buy groceries. More than 4.1 million Texans utilize the program as of December, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Current restrictions on SNAP purchases include alcohol and tobacco products, vitamins and medicines and hot food.
State Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg filed HB 523, which defines “energy drink” as a beverage containing 65 milligrams of caffeine per 8 fluid ounces designed to increase mental or physical energy. Coffee-based beverages are exempt from the restriction.