Senate Removes Ban on Food Stamps for Ex-offenders

By of vote of 29-4 the Senate passed a bill this week allowing ex-drug offenders to receive food stamps. Sponsored by Senator Kiki Curls (D-Kansas City), SB 680 would allow Missouri to opt out of federal ban that prohibits former drug users from receiving food stamps. The ban was part of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.  Forty other states have already opted out of or modified the ban.

According to the legislation, before a former drug user could receive food stamps they would have to successfully complete a drug treatment program or be on the waiting list for one or been certified not to need treatment.   The person would also have to comply with obligations imposed by the court and meet all other factors for food stamp eligibility.  In a Senate amendment, the exemption would not apply to individuals who have had three subsequent drug felony offenses after release from custody.

The MCC supports this legislation because prohibiting former drug offenders from receiving food stamps is a form of double punishment not experienced by other offenders returning to society. Senate Bill 680 now moves to the House for further consideration.

Posted: April 4, 2014

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