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Florida Lawmakers Could Scale Back Food Assistance

Tallahassee Democrat

At least 157,000 kids in Florida could lose food stamps under legislation moving in a Florida House committee Thursday.

Legislation by Frank White, R-Pensacola, sends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility requirements back to pre-recession levels.

Credit Tallahassee Democrat

“This was an issue that I really dug deep into before filing this bill," he said about the number of kids who would become ineligible. "And I saw exactly what the impact would be and was able to get comfortable that it’s not going to be really all that meaningful on those kids."

The total of people potentially cut off is at least 229,000 Floridians. White said the parents make enough money to support their children.

“We’re talking about the highest income portion, so 130 to 200 percent of the poverty level," he said.

It’s not clear the proposal will save the state money. Florida would give up nearly $28 million in federal matching funds. The bill analysis shows the state could spend tens of millions to check each applicant’s value of their assets.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.