Sunday, September 29, 2013

U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate: Not Just Denying Food Stamps /SNAP to Anyone Convicted of a Sexual Offense But to Their Spouse and Their Children Too

I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. If the information is already out there then use it and direct other folks to it.

eAdvocate has a new post about the Food Stamp Bills that we’ve both been following.

 Past Postings on the issue:

·         September 20, 2013: Food Stamp

·         July 3, 2013: Food Stamp 

Below is eAdvocate’s newest post on the Food Stamp Bills you can click on the title to read it from his site if you prefer. I just want you to know what’s going on in D.C. and to take action. 

Thank you!


9-29-2013 Washington DC:
Whats going on in Congress with the Farm Bills (Plural) and sex offenders. Folks need to know that Congress has not passed any Farm Bill since 2008, so some updating is needed, for reasons to numerous to mention here. Last year Congress was at a stalemate w/two versions of a Farm Bill, and neither passed, instead they extended the 2008 Farm Bill (a possibility this year if another stalemate occurs). OK, lets review things today:

1) Senate, most folks know that Sen. Vitter wiggled a bad amendment into
S-954 and the Senate passed it. Heck we all know a Farm Bill update needs to happen, but not with Vitter trickery affecting certain sex offenders.

Unfortunately, at this point we cannot do anything about what Vitter did because S-954 passed and was sent to the House for their approval. It sits there with no House action, but worse yet, the bad Vitter amendment is available to all House members to read.

2) House, well they have their own version of a Farm Bill
(introduced 9-16 by Rep Lucas) and tucked into that bill is a House version of the Vitter amendment. Obviously Rep. Lucas read what was in S-954 and modified it, then tucked that into his bill HR-3102.

OK, now other House Reps, not to be outdone, have since introduced Farm Bills (HR-2498 and HR-2642) and guess what is tucked into those bills. Right, some version of the bad Vitter amendment.

3) Vitter Amendment Versions: Look closely at the versions below, S-954 and HR-2642 are exactly the same. Now, HR-2498 and HR-3102 are different from S-954 and HR-2642. Yes, confusing, it appears there are some House members who want the SUPER bad Vitter amendment (S-954 Retroactive version). Read on.

4) Retroactivity: This is interesting, S-954 and HR-2642 ARE retroactive, and would deny certain sex offenders food stamps, while HR-2498 and HR-3102 ARE NOT retroactive, and would not deny certain sex offenders if their convictions were before XX DATE (based on when bill would be enacted).

5) Families w/Sex Offender Living with them & Food Stamps: This irks me the most, if either S-954 or HR-2642 versions are enacted, it WILL AFFECT any family who has a qualifying sex offender living with them, assuming they apply for food stamps. see: 
(2) EFFECTS ON ASSISTANCE AND BENEFITS FOR OTHERS- The amount of benefits otherwise required to be provided to an eligible household under this Act shall be determined by considering the individual to whom paragraph (1) applies not to be a member of such household, except that the income and resources of the individual shall be considered to be income and resources of the household.

Now, if either HR-2498 or HR-3102 are enacted, then the above is only applied to the family's benefit calculation, if the qualifying sex offender's date of conviction is XX DATE or thereafter (DATE based on when these bills would be enacted, if enacted).

Sadly, whenever a family's benefit is affected, it would be for the lifetime of the qualifying sex offender (or as long as they live together). To me this is a definite unconstitutional FAMILY PENALTY, so ACLU folks get ready this needs to end up in court.

6) What to do in the meantime: Personally I'd contact all of my Reps. and Senators, asking them to request removal of ANY version which would deny former felons Food Stamps (that would include qualifying sex offenders according to bills). These bills are going back and forth between House and Senate (and even newer ones are possible) so our requests to lawmakers need to cover all possible versions, some generic verbiage. Click these links to find your Reps and Senators.

By the way, I am not oblivious of the fact that, the dilemma for former sex offenders is probably the least of the worries in Congress right now, but it is important that we keep the wheel squeaking in DC.

7) What will happen if Congress gets to a Farm Bill vote:

a) If they cannot decide on anything, it is likely they will AGAIN extend the 2008 Farm Bill;

b) Appoint a Conference Committee to resolve the differences in the pile of pending Farm Bills. If a Committee is appointed then, yes, we should do our best to influence them as best possible (Phone Calls). Given it would be a new Committee there is no list of such committee today.

Finally, remember, once the Joint Committee irons out differences, then BOTH the FULL House and the FULL Senate must approve the resolved bill.

Well thats it for today. Have a great day and a better tomorrow. Stop back here for any updates, I'll post them when they occur.