As originally introduced, the MCC opposed HB 343, a public assistance bill that would put certain onerous requirements on recipients to get benefits. As the bill moved through the process some of the MCC’s concerns were addressed and certain requirements were removed, while others remained or were modified. Sponsored by Representative Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany), HB 343 has passed the House and was heard this week by the Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee.
During the hearing Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) offered an amendment that would allow eligible ex-drug offenders to receive food stamps as is currently allowed for all other ex-offendors. The MCC has long supported lifting the food stamp ban for these individuals as it is discriminatory and deprives economic dollars from coming into our state. The committee accepted the amendment and voted HB 343 “Do Pass”.
With a week remaining in the session, HB 343 may still not make it to the governor’s desk, but at least now the bill contains something positive from the MCC’s perspective.