Just one week after the House of Representatives overwhelming defeated an amendment to allow ex-drug offenders to receive food stamps, a House committee heard and passed a bill to allow these benefits to former felony drug offenders.The bill, HB 838 sponsored by Representative Paul Wieland (R-Imperial) was voted 7-2 “do pass” by the Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee.
Why the change? Perhaps it was the passionate testimony of former drug offenders, advocates and ministers who came to testify before the committee. For many of the witnesses it was the sixth year they have come to Jefferson City to urge Missouri to join 41 other states in lifting the life-time prohibition on ex-drug offenders receiving food stamps. Members of the committee obviously realized the positive impact this bill would have on people’s lives and for the state in general.
HB 838 could be incorporated into an omnibus bill reported out of the committee, so House members may have another chance to vote on the proposal in the coming weeks.