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Friday, September 20, 2013

Action Alert: Federal Bill HR3102 Denies Food Stamps to Anyone Convicted of Sexual Abuse


Updated September 22, 2013:

Earlier today eAdvocate sent me an email pointing out Sub-section C in HR3102 

(c) Inapplicability to Convictions Occurring on or Before Enactment- The amendments made by this section shall not apply to a conviction if the conviction is for conduct occurring on or before the date of the enactment of this Act.  
 
So if Sub-section C remains in HR3102 then all current/existing Registered Sex Offenders would not be denied Food Stamp benefits.  

But every year 40,000 – 60,000 new citizens are added to the U.S. Sex Offender Registries nationwide and because their conviction would be after this bill becomes law (if it becomes law) they and their families would be denied all access to Food Stamps (SNAP) with no petition process or waiting period option. 

Sub-Section C could be removed before being passed affecting all RSO’s. 

Sub-Section C could be amended to a specific date in time already passed and then a portion of RSO’s would fall before the randomly selected date and then there’d be the group that falls after the date. 

Date, no date in the end it doesn’t matter. 

Hateful legislation based on myth, fear and vengeance that creates “us” and “them”, the “haves” and the “have nots” all because of a conviction (usually because of a plea deal due to fear, ignorance or lack of financial abilities) is not how our government subsides assistance programs should be managed. They think its justified disqualification but when the spouses and children become collateral damage being denied housing, food or ability to earn income (for the RSO) there is NOTHING justified in such an action! 
 

So I am going to reiterate a point I made in my original post 2 days ago to all of you. 
 

Just because the current version of this proposed Federal Legislation won’t affect you or your loved one doesn’t mean you take the attitude of “if it doesn’t affect me why should I care”?  The majority of vengeful, myth-based, punitive, retroactive and/or unconstitutional proposals that I have publicly opposed over the last 5 years would NOT have affected my family but they were wrong and needed to be opposed, so I did it for everyone who couldn't or wouldn't speak up, because it was the right thing to do. 
 
Any punitive RSO restriction imposed across the board affect us all and because no one else but those of us affected will ever speak up for RSO’s……….. means we MUST speak up each and every time!  
 
There could be a time down the road when you or your loved one needs Food Stamp/SNAP assistance and if this Bill has already become law (in ANY form) depending on the final draft there will be RSO’s somewhere who are being denied assistance and maybe you’re included or maybe you aren’t. That’s a lottery no one wants to win are you going to take the chance by not opposing this bill today? 
 
Please take a few minutes and contact your one member of Congress and our two U.S. Senators form Virginia (see below for all contact information). 
 
Thank you. 
 
Mary

Original Post:

Back in May there was a bill moving through Washington, D.C. that was of great concern. S954-Federal Farm Bill with a last minute Vitter amendment to Deny Food Stamps to “Rapists” and “Pedophiles” which I previously posted about.  

Then in July ALL Food Stamp (SNAP) references were removed from the Senate Farm Bill, so the issue was on hold. 

But then 4 days ago on September 16th a new House bill HR3102 Patroned by Rep. Frank Lucas [R-OK3] with almost $40 Billion of cuts to the Food Stamp Program (SNAP) was filed.
 


Understanding the SNAP cuts as a part of broader food and agriculture policy, September 19, 2013

House passes GOP plan for $39B cut in food stamps, September 19, 2013

The Senate Bill back in May was limited to people convicted of either rape (which we all know varies from state to state) or sexually abusing a child.

This new House Bill is ALL Sexual Abuse, so in other words ALL Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S. (750,000+). 

SEC. 137. ELIGIBILITY DISQUALIFICATIONS FOR CERTAIN CONVICTED FELONS.

(a) Amendment- Section 6 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2015), as amended by sections 109 and 135, is amended by adding at the end the following: 

‘(t) Disqualification for Certain Convicted Felons- 

‘(1) IN GENERAL- An individual shall not be eligible for benefits under this Act if the individual is convicted of— 

‘(A) aggravated sexual abuse under section 2241 of title 18, United States Code;

‘(B) murder under section 1111 of title 18, United States Code;

‘(C) an offense under chapter 110 of title 18, United States Code;

‘(D) a Federal or State offense involving sexual assault, as defined in 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 13925(a)); or

‘(E) an offense under State law determined by the Attorney General to be substantially similar to an offense described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C).

Back in 2011 members of Congress excluded Registered Sex Offenders from the Unemployment Benefit Extension Act and currently there is a bill to revoke gun ownership for anyone with a misdemeanor sexual conviction. 

Federal law already prohibits all 750,000+ Registered Sex Offenders from accessing

·         Section 8 HUD Housing
·         Earned Military Benefits, including burial rights in military cemeteries
·         Small Business Loans 

Self-employment is usually the only option for a Registered Sex Offender as no employer or company wants the shame and criticism that comes along with having their business listed on the National and State public Sex Offender Registries, but without a small business loan that option is no longer viable. 

Registered Sex Offenders are U.S. citizens, they pay taxes and many are voters. They were convicted of a crime, most of them (92+%) took a plea deal out of fear, ignorance or financial necessity and they accepted the sentence that was handed down by the judge or the jury. They paid their court ordered debt to society and they were released back into society with the lifetime label of Sex Offender and are told to become productive citizens. 

How can they succeed when basic social services like housing, unemployment, business loans and food stamps that are available to all of our other citizens in times of need are not available to them, their spouses or their children? 
 
Barriers like these are not just cruel but they make a successful re-entry nearly impossible. 

Registered Sex Offenders are any easy target; they make a perfect punching-bag and stepping-stone all in one for career Legislators. I’ve witnessed this first hand for the last 5 years. A veritable parade of malicious, callus, intolerant, apathetic, fear-mongering, myth-based proposals by egomaniacs who crave the feeling of moral superiority at any cost and today that cost is the slow starvation of families already struggling to survive.

This deplorable attempt to revoke RSO’s access to food stamps isn’t really a surprise to me but just another disappointment in what our country and its elected leaders have become. I fear what lays ahead in future legislation against RSO’s and their families. Maybe denying them Federal relief when they’ve been impacted by a tornado, a hurricane or an earthquake, maybe revoking their Social Security or disability benefits? Sadly, somewhere an elected official is reading these very words and thinking, that’s a great idea.

This proposal has nothing to do with pubic safety, its punitive through and through AND being labeled a Registered Sex Offender is only Constitutional because they claim it's Administrative, NOT punitive.

For the members of Congress who voted yesterday for this Bill, they are sending the same message hundreds of State and Federal Legislators before them have been allowed to send because no wants to risk their career defending the indefensible. That no punishment will ever be sufficient, no forgiveness will ever be allowed. We may be a country of Christians who believe in forgiveness, second chances and redemption but you are unworthy and unfit to be part of our society. We loath your very existence and we will do everything possible to punish, banish, shun and destroy you. We will take away every right, freedom, benefit, opportunity and support system you have until we are rid of you and your kind.

When there is no light at the end of the tunnel, when basic and humane social services are routine stripped away because those with the power repeatedly claim you are worthless it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When a person is left with no other options to survive they will commit a crime, the only question is how severe or violent will that crime be? Will they commit a minimal crime so they spend a few years in prison where they’ll have clean clothes, shoes, a bed, heat in the winter and 2-3 meals a day? Or will the anger of being discarded as the scum-of-the-earth make them lose all hope and sanity and result in them committing an extremely violent, heinous and mass crime of despair?  

I have no doubt that if this proposal becomes law, many affected will turn to crime. Many families will fracture leaving the RSO without the emotional support they have today and finally many will starve to death. One new crime, one fractured family or one death because of this amendment is one too many.

This amendment and every vote for it, is Government sponsored murder by starvation.

Are you appalled?  Are you angry? You should be!

Just because you or your loved one doesn’t need Food Stamp Assistance today doesn’t mean this bill isn’t relevant to them and you take on the attitude of “it doesn’t affect me so why should I care”?  Any restriction imposed across the board to RSO’s affect us all and we need to speak up. 

There could be a time down the road when you or your loved one needs SNAP assistance and if this Bill has already become law then there will be no options available for you or them to feed their family.

Please call, email or write your Virginia Congressional Representative today!

Tell your member of Congress that you are disappointed that they allowed the sexual abuse portion of HR3102 to remain in the bill and if they are on of the members that voted “yea” you are extremely disappointed.

Especially make the effort to contact Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine who have not yet had a chance to vote on this terrible Bill.

If you are feeling extremely motivated here is every member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, tell them you are extremely disappointed that they allowed the sexual abuse portion of HR3102 to remain in the bill.
 

Congress member
 
Agricultural Assistant
Party
D.C. Main Phone
D.C. Office/ Mailing Address
Frank Lucas -  Chairman
Oklahoma
R
202-225-5565
2311 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Collin Peterson
Minnesota
D
202-225-2165
2109 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Bob Goodlatte  -       Vice Chair
Virginia
R
202-225-5431
2309 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Steve King
Iowa
R
202-225-4426
2210 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mike McIntyre
North Carolina
D
202-225-2731
2428 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
David Scott
Georgia
D
202-225-2939
225 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Randy Neugebauer
Texas
R
202-225-4005
1424 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mike Rogers
Alabama
R
202-225-3261
324 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Jim Costa
California
D
202-225-3341
1314 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Timothy Walz
Minnesota
D
202-225-2472
1034 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
K. Michael Conaway
Texas
R
202-225-3605
2430 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Glenn Thompson
Pennsylvania
R
202-225-5121
124 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Kurt Schrader
Oregon
Christopher Huckleberry-                                         huck@mail.house.gov
D
202-225-5711
108 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Marcia Fudge
Ohio
D
202-225-7032
2344 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Bob Gibbs
Ohio
R
202-225-6265
329 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Austin Scott
Georgia
R
202-225-6531
516 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
James McGovern
Massachusetts
D
202-225-6101
438 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Suzan DelBene
Washington
D
202-225-6311
318 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Scott Tipton
Colorado
R
202-225-4761
218 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Eric "Rick" Crawford
Arkansas
R
202-225-4076
1711 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Gloria Negrete McLeod
California
D
202-225-6161
1641 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Filemon Vela
Texas
D
202-225-9901
437 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Martha Roby
Alabama
R
202-225-2901
428 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Scott DesJarlais
Tennessee
R
202-225-6831
413 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Michelle Lujan Grisham
New Mexico
D
202-225-6316
214 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Ann Kuster
New Hampshire
D
202-225-5206
137 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Christopher Gibson
New York
R
202-225-5614
1708 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Vicky Hartzler
Missouri
R
202-225-2876
1023 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Richard Nolan
Minnesota
D
202-225-6211
2447 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Pete Gallego
Texas
D
202-225-4511
431 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Reid Ribble
Wisconsin
R
202-225-5665
1513 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Kristi Noem
South Dakota
R
202-225-2801
1323 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
William Enyart
Illinois
D
202-225-5661
1722 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Juan Vargas
California
D
202-225-8045
1605 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dan Benishek
Michigan
R
202-225-4735
514 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Jeff Denham
California
R
202-225-4540
1730 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Cheri Bustos
Illinois
D
202-225-5905
1009 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Sean Patrick Maloney
New York
D
202-225-5441
1529 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Stephen Lee Fincher
Tennessee
Chris Davis-                                         c.davis@mail.house.gov
R
202-225-4714
1118 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Doug LaMalfa
California
R
202-225-3076
506 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Joe Courtney
Connecticut
D
202-225-2076
2348 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
John Garamendi
California
D
202-225-1880
2438 Rayburn House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Richard Hudson
North Carolina
R
202-225-3715
429 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Rodney Davis
Illinois
R
202-225-2371
1740 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Chris Collins
New York
R
202-225-5265
1117 Longworth House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515
Ted Yoho
Florida
R
202-225-5744
511 Cannon House Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515

 
The next stop for HR3102 is the Senate Agriculture Committee and then onto the Full Senate to be voted on. Here is every member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, tell them to remove the A-D disqualifications currently contained in HR3102. 
Senator
 
Assistant
Party
D.C. Main Phone
D.C. Office/ Mailing Address
 
Debbie Stabenow                          Chairwomen           
Michigan
Agriculture Comm-  202-224-2035                                     SNAP Issues                                                jacqlyn_schneider@ag.senate.gov           
D
202-224-4822
133 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Thad Cochran 
Mississippi
R
202-224-5054
113 Dirksen Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Patrick Leahy
Vermont
Supposedly Adrienne Wojciechowski but email bounced back  and the person answering got very defensive and wouldn't help.
D
202-224-4242
437 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Tom Harkin
Iowa
D
202-224-3254
731 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Mitch McConnell
Kentucky
R
202-224-2541
317 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Patrick Roberts
Kansas
R
202-224-4774
109 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Max Baucus
Montana
D
202-224-2651
511 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Sherrod Brown
Ohio
Position Temporarily Filled by                                             john_crown@brown.senate.gov
D
202-224-2315
713 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Saxby Chambliss
Georgia
R
202-224-521
416 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
John Boozman
Arkansas
R
202-224-4843
320 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Kirsten Gillibrand
New York
DC Office Phone Busy for LONG time, Albany Office claimed they didn't know who it was and NYC Office would give the first name of Rebecca but refused to give last names of any staff members
D
202-224-4451
478 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Joe Donnelly
Indiana
D
202-224-4814
720 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Charles Grassley
Iowa
R
202-224-3744
135 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
John Thune
South Dakota
R
202-224-2321
511 Dirksen Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Heidi Heitkamp
North Dakota
D
202-224-2043
SD-655  Dirksen Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
William Cowan
Massachusetts
Jeremy_D'Aloisio@cowan.senate.gov
D
202-224-2742
365 Dirksen Senate Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510

 
Please, please take 20 minutes out of your day and send email’s to stop this bill.

Right now President Obama has said he’ll veto the bill if it is sent to him, but if a refined version gets more support it could still have an RSO eligibility portion and they need to be REMOVED completely!

Thank you. 

Mary