The Assembly approved, on a bipartisan vote of 68-26, a bill requiring at least two-thirds of the purchases in the state’s FoodShare program to come from a list of state-defined healthy foods, with Republicans arguing that the benefits outweighed the opposition of some business interests and advocates for the needy. The measure now goes to the state Senate.
The vote on AB 110 was bipartisan because 13 Democrats – including Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca and Caucus Chairperson Andy Jorgensen voted with Republicans to dictate to those receiving food assistance what they should and should not be be eating.
As noted by PR Watch, the bill Reps. Barca and Jorgensen cast their votes in favor of would classify sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese as “junk food,” along with brown eggs, gluten-free bread, soy milk (unless it’s a very specific brand), reduced-fat peanut butter, bagels, English muffins, and white rice, among other foods. While I’m not surprised at the hypocrisy of “small government” Republicans supporting government intrusion when it suits their own political goals, I am disappointed that 13 Democrats helped enable those Republicans.
I understand that AB 110 was a trap laid by Republicans to force Democrats into a difficult vote, but damn….when are Democrats going to stand up and fight, rather than rolling over in the face of a tough vote?
UPDATE May 12, 2013 @ 9:10 p.m.: Here’s the statement I received from Minority Leader Barca’s office on his vote on AB 110:
All our statements and focus right now are on the budget (particularly education and health care) and WEDC…but he is writing a letter to constituents. I’m guessing you understand why these other things have delayed that.