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Mon Mar 23, 2015, 10:14 PM

MO lawmakers introduce bill to prevent food stamp recipients from buying fish [View all]

They say if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. But teach the man to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime.

Some Missouri lawmakers have seemingly taken the old saying and distilled it down to its most reductive lesson: Don't give fish to poor people.

Indeed, there does seems to be something a bit twisted in Republican Representative Rick Brattin's House Bill 813, which would bar Missouri's roughly 930,000 food-stamp recipients from using their government payouts to buy seafood. The bill would also ban energy drinks, soda, cookies, chips and steak.

Brattin's bill follows in the footsteps of several recent laws designed to restrict how needy Missourians use their federal assistance. In 2011 the legislature passed a law that required drug testing applicants who were applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Two years later lawmakers banned the use of electronic benefit cards to withdraw welfare funds from casino and strip-club ATMs.


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