This week, the Missouri House of Representatives approved HB 1486. If enacted into law, this legislation could lead to thousands of families losing food stamp assistance. The Federal Food Stamp program, now renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides food assistance to lower-income families.
The bill is sponsored by State Representative Hannah Kelly (R-Mountain Grove). It would penalize parents who fail to comply with the program’s work requirements. Federal law requires states to offer job training and education as part of the work requirement, but Missouri has only 32 job centers in 114 counties with some additional services in St. Louis and Kansas City. Agencies that work closely with the poor say these parents will face serious obstacles in obtaining childcare and the transportation needed to hold a job or attend a job-training center.
The Missouri Catholic Conference supports steps to help parents find employment but opposes HB 1486. In addition to the childcare and transportation challenges, the MCC is voicing concern about how reducing or eliminating SNAP food assistance would adversely affect the health and well-being of the children of these families. HB 1486 now moves to the Missouri Senate for further action.