This week, the House Committee on Children and Families heard HB 1238 that would lift Missouri’s current ban on ex-drug offenders from receiving food stamps. Bill sponsor Rep. Bob Nance (R-Excelsior Springs) told the committee that allowing eligible ex-drug offenders to receive several hundred dollars of food stamps a year could prevent them from returning to prison at a cost to the state of almost $20,000 a year.
Currently 41 states have lifted the food stamp ban for ex-offenders that was enacted by Congress in 1996. Numerous witnesses, including law enforcement and ex-offenders told the House committee that help with food stamps could make a positive difference in preventing someone from returning to crime in order to feed themselves or their families. In testifying in support of HB 1238, the MCC reminded the committee that the bill is a matter of fairness as all other ex-felons are eligible to receive food stamps.
The committee took no action on the bill.