Legislative Updates

HB 1035 the Arkansas Healthy Food Improvement Act by Arkansas State Rep. Mary Bentley to restrict the food stamp benefit to healthy foods passed the Arkansas House 55-39 and now goes to the Senate. The bill mandates that the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) only allow benefits to be used for foods, food products, and beverages that have sufficient nutritional value. The bill has been opposed by grocery stores. It will be costly for grocery stores to implement and others say there are rural areas in Arkansas where people do not have access to large grocery stores. The author of the bill said she is concerned with combating rising obesity and food stamp fraud.
Two years after passing a bill to make it harder for people to vote by requiring a photo identification (the requirement was struck down by the Supreme Court as not being constitutional) the House voted 74-21 to reinstate a voter ID requirement.. HB 1047 by Rep. Mark Lowery will change Amendment 51 to require a voter provide verification of voter registration and a photo ID.

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