Boots & Sabers

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0704, 14 May 15

Assembly Passes Accountability Bills

Good. Now on to the Senate.

Under the junk food bill, food stamp recipients would have to use at least two-thirds of their monthly benefits to purchase nutritional foods such as beef, chicken, pork, potatoes, dairy products, fresh produce and food available under the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. Users would be barred from buying crab, lobster, shrimp and other shellfish.



The Assembly also passed a pair of bills that would require drug tests for applicants for state job training programs such as Wisconsin Works and certain applicants for unemployment benefits. Since state law requires able-bodied people who don’t have dependent children to get job training to receive food stamps, the drug test requirement would also apply to some food stamp recipients.

Under the bills, applicants for the public benefits and job training programs would first have to complete a questionnaire screening for drug abuse. Based on the answers, applicants could be forced to undergo state-funded tests and enter state-sponsored treatment to retain their eligibility.


0704, 14 May 2015


  1. Jadedly Unbiased

    Applicants would first have to complete a questionnaire screening for drug abuse. Based on the answers, applicants COULD be forced… Sounds like a few lies would get them out of a test. Ineffective. When passing this ineffective law they should have attached a voter responsibility law to. I suggested, to my representatives, that they attach a law that would require a civics class, voter registration and mandatory voting in all elections. This would the eliminate the rampant voter fraud in WI. I didn’t receive a response from any of my representatives ( all Republicans).

  2. Pat

    As the Federal government pays 100 percent of SNAP/Food Stamp program benefits, and the Federal and State pay 50 percent each to administer, what will be the cost to the tax payers of Wisconsin for the increase in regulating and administering this legislation? And, will it be an increase in cost to private sector businesses to help in administering this?
    And if there is an increase cost to the tax payers and businesses of Wisconsin for this, what will be the our/their return on investment?

  3. Kevin Scheunemann


    What if the cost of regulating would save taxpayers money?

  4. Jadedly Unbiased

    Could there be possible violations of HIPPA? Will test results be made public? Will the tests be urine, hair or blood? Will the lab work be done by private labs or state? Will recipients be disqualified for a positive test result? Will those testing positive be required to get drug treatment? If so, who pays that bill? What about alcohol? Alcohol is the number one abused drug. Maybe they can require recipients to wear ankle bracelets that monitor for alcohol and drugs and tattoo bar codes on their wrists for easy identification (and for voter ID).

  5. Pat

    According to the article, “Grocery stores have also balked at the proposal because new software would have to be installed to track spending by food stamp users, which is estimated to cost as much as $55 million.”

    Doesn’t sound very pro-business.

  6. Jadedly Unbiased

    From data on existing programs in seven other states recipients actually test at a lower rate then the general public (9.4%). All but one state have a rate below 1%. Millions have been spent to weed out the few. This program will be as ineffective as those already implemented and will cost more then it will save.

  7. Jadedly Unbiased

    I wonder if a grocery store software designer contributed to Walker?

  8. Pat

    It would be very interesting to hear how much this would save the Wisconsin taxpayers. Anyone know?

  9. Jadedly Unbiased

    I can’t find an example (anywhere/worldwide) of one similar enforcement or monitoring program that saves tax payers money. I will keep looking.

  10. Pat

    The cost of regulation rarely saves the taxpayer any money.

  11. Kevin Scheunemann


    Wow, that statement may make you as fiscally conservative as me!

  12. Pat


    Are you against this bill if it’s costing the taxpayers and businesses money?

  13. Jadedly Unbiased

    If we really want to get down to the fat of it…Obesity is the number one cost to health care expense and a major contributor to unproductive workers. Many recipients of the benefits in question deal with obesity issues. I thought Republicans were against regulating food intake…Big Gulp. I know, this is different because it’s at tax payer expense. Listen, I’m all for welfare and worker training recipient accountability Im just not sure this is the right way to get it done. Documentable progress (results) within timelines shows some results (Thank you Tommy Thompson ). One of the objections I have heard is recipients only get a certain dollar amount per month. With meat, produce and veggies on the high end of food prices they would actually get less calories per month for the money. It may be the monetary amount awarded would have to be increased to accomplish a comparable caloric intake. Also WIC already only allows for certain items to be purchased (milk, baby formula, some veggies, beans and juice). It’s limited. There is no easy solution but this certainly seems destined to fail at our expense.

  14. Pat

    It’s a feel good bill that would appeal to social conservatives but really does nothing for fiscal conservatives. Plus, it does absolutely nothing to address the root cause of the need for SNAP. This will increase the expense for the store owner who will past the cost on to the customers, which hurts the middle class the most, and will increase the cost to the taxpayers for monitoring.

  15. Kevin Scheunemann


    I find it difficult where regulation here would cost more money, (vs. savings) especially when it comes to drug use.

    Because our health care is now mostly socialized (taxpayer picking up large share of burden) and the cost of drug use, drug overdoes, etc. is a tremendous burden to taxpayers, I really like the idea of drug testing for those that want public benefits.

    If the recipients don’t like drug testing, find a way to fund your drug lifestyle apart from taxpayers.

    This is a good way to cut down illegal drug use.

    There should be conditions for food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

    So even if drug testing is more than health care savings, I’d still support it. Simply because I find the idea of taxpayers enabling drug use, through public assistence, reprehensible.

  16. Pat


    I was addressing the junk food bill.

  17. Kevin Scheunemann

    I don’t see the huge cost on junk food bill.

    There is a system in place to exclude non food items such as alochol, cigs, and pet food, etc. Items would just be added to EBT software.

    I don’t have a problem with the initial cost to do it. I find it hard to believe it would be that much of an ongoing cost to do it.

    So, yes I support it, despite cost.

    If one wants to eat junk food, do it on your own dime.

    what I find it interesting is about this issue: lefties who want to ban big gulps, sugar, etc when people choose to use their own money, get in a big snarl when we choose to regulate taxpayer money in the exact same way. That’s what I find fascinating.

  18. Pat

    But, if I were addressing the drug testing bill I would include anyone receiving taxpayer money should be drug tested regularly. This would include business leaders and all politicians.

  19. Kevin Scheunemann


    Completely agree on politcians! (that includes myself of course.)

    I’d only agree with mandating drug testing of business leaders if they are openly getting taxpayer support in a specialized, or slopping up to the public subsidy, like the owners of the Bucks, for instance.

    I don’t see the need to drug test every owner of a small business.

  20. Pat

    How about recipients of WEDC monies?

  21. Pat

    If a business, I don’t care how small, is receiving taxpayer support, then they should be drug tested. How else can we know that our taxpayer money is not helping them support their drug habits instead of going to help their business.

  22. Jadedly Unbiased

    We could even drug test all students (K-12 and college) that receive funding or state sponsored grants including school lunch programs. How about all the people who get their garbage picked up or their street plowed but receive a state refund check. In the end this will not be cost effective whether it’s the junk food bill, health benefits or worker training programs. It’s proven to be ineffective in other states. It’s a start but any committed drug user will find a way around it they always do. Pat, I agree, it’s a feel good bill for social conservatives.

  23. Pat

    I personally know a farmer that has received well over a million dollars in farm subsidies since 1995. And he’s never had to take a drug test for that money. And I don’t hear anyone advocating that he should.

  24. Jadedly Unbiased

    What actually qualifies a food as junk? Processed? Preservatives? Or is it going to be only fresh? For instance, would lunch meat or canned sweet potatoes be acceptable?

  25. Kevin Scheunemann


    WEDC monies. I would agree that would be good.

    Farmers getting massive, direct, government subsidy, no problem with that either.

  26. Jadedly Unbiased

    I’m sure if SNAP or WIC could be used at fast food restaurants some people would have a completely different opinion.

  27. Jadedly Unbiased

    How will bodily fluids infected/contaminated with infectious disease be disposed of?
    Who will ensure universal precautions are being used to protect the sample collectors and givers from infectious disease?
    Will samples collected be used to expand the states DNA data bank?
    Will people be able to refuse the tests on religious grounds?

    Or are our representatives incapable of foreseeing all of the possible complications that could arise and are going to drive the price of this policy through the roof? Bad policy written by incompetent politicians. Where are the statesmen?

  28. Kevin Scheunemann

    Jade said,

    “I’m sure if SNAP or WIC could be used at fast food restaurants some people would have a completely different opinion.”

    In some states, SNAP is allowed to be used fast food restaurants.

    Policy on SNAP usage varies widely by state.

    Whether SNAP is used, or not used, at fast food restaurants I could go either way on, but I’d insist it be a level playing field. For instance, if McD’s can take it for burgers, everybody else should have same opportunity.

    Many times restaurant food is much healthier than food cooked at home because of proper cooking procedures and commercial kitchen facilities. Food bourne illness is a big issue in home kitchens. That’s why health departments are cracking down on church pot luck and any restaurants using non-commercial kitchen facilities.

    So there is a safety argument to be made for SNAP usage at restaurants.

  29. Jadedly Unbiased

    High sugar, high salt, high fat, high carbs all cooked in a clean kitchen by many many different employees spreading who knows what… Sounds health. Oh, preservatives, additives and meat marinated in steroids and antibiotics…yummy. Can’t blame anyone for advocating for the industry that puts food on their table (probably not fast food).

  30. Jadedly Unbiased

    Safety and healthy are two different things. Food born illness free food doesn’t make it any healthier (nutritionally). Only thirteen percent of Americans when given the option of healthy choices on a fast food menu will make a healthy decision. Indulgence even gluttony drive consumer decisions at fast food restaurants.

  31. Kevin Scheunemann

    If the “healthy food” makes you sick, or kills you, because of food bourne illness from improper preparation, that is simply not a good choice.

    You make it sound like its a crime to enjoy food.

  32. Jadedly Unbiased

    When the government decides to limit food choices and use my tax dollars in doing so then I want there to be a definite distinction between what’s healthy and what’s not. The debate has nothing to do with kitchen cleanliness. If that was the case we would have to start another program to monitor kitchen conditions in private homes receiving aid. Enjoying fast food on the taxpayers dime isn’t something I would support. Some people are incapable of making healthy choices (only 13%) and it would be a “crime” to see our tax dollars wasted on eating habits (bad food choices) that contribute to the out of control obesity rate in our nation. People can be as fat as they want but not on my dime. It makes no sense… Let’s get them off drugs but contribute to their obesity. Where’s the logic in that?

  33. Kevin Scheunemann

    I’m all for limiting junk food on food stamps.

    You brought up restaurant issue, and it goes far beyond “kitchen cleanliness”. You can have the cleanest kitchen ever but if the cook cross contaminates (which is a big food handling no-no at home) or undercooks, or improperly stores food at wrong temperature, it can be a hazzard in even the most healthy food.

    Restaurants, generally, because of training, are much better in that area as a whole.

    So that’s why I’m torn on restaurants for SNAP. It can offer a lower risk of these things happening. So there is a good argument for letting restaurants be a SNAP vendor. Papa Murphy’s aleady is.

    However, I realize, my argument for it looks self serving, and I’m against it as a good conservative.

  34. Jadedly Unbiased

    I have great respect for the hard work you have put into having a successful restaurant franchise. I will defer to your expertise and experience within the food industry. You are correct in pointing out the many things that go into food safety. Some restaurants do have healthy choices but they are limited. As you pointed out before (relating to groceries I believe) the systems (EBT) could be modified to accept only the healthy choices in restaurants and I think that would be okay. Even the poorest in society find themselves on the go and in need of a quick (healthy) meal. I think the whole point of all of this is… how do we give people a hand up (not hand out) and at the same time make sure our tax dollars aren’t being abused. We also have to ask ourselves if this is government overreach or a feel good bill that’s only going to cost more then it accomplishes. Probably ineffective.

    On another note… I appreciate the constructive dialogue. Thank you!

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