This week the Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee heard SB 346, sponsored by Senator S. Kiki Curls (D-Kansas City) that would allow Missouri to “opt” out and provide ex-drug offenders food stamps.
Missouri is one of only 10 states that still has a life-time ban on ex-drug offenders receiving food stamps. The ban was established by Congress in 1996 as part of its Welfare Reform Act, but gave states the right to “opt” out of the ban if they wished.
Numerous witnesses, including former drug users, told the committee how having food stamps would have aided them in their recovery efforts. They informed the committee that by federal law no other offender, including murderers and sex offenders, could be denied food stamps if they were eligible.
In testifying in support of the bill, the MCC reminded the committee of the economic benefit to the state, as Missouri is currently losing $7 million in federal-food stamp dollars because of the ban. It is estimated that every $1 in food stamps results in $1.79 in economic activity in the state.
The committee took no action on the bill.