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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Status Update: Federal Bills That Could Deny Some or Maybe All Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S. the Ability to Receive Food Stamp /SNAP Benefits


Articles: 
Farm bill watch - SNAP at the end - A game of organic chicken - Strawberry fields forever, October 23, 2013

At end of shutdown, ag sector looks for farm bill passage, October 22, 2013

GOP's Biggest SNAP-Hater Will Negotiate the Future of Food Stamps, October 21, 2013
Florida Rep. Steve Southerland's work requirement amendment led to the break up of the farm bill in the House.

Lawmakers, Advocates Raise Concerns as SNAP Benefits Shrink, October 21, 2013
Food banks prepare for influx of families looking for help

Bill Summaries: 

-         To amend the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 to repeal the denial of food stamps to ex-offenders with drug convictions.
-         Status – Pending in Committee 

-         Denies Food Stamps / SNAP to anyone convicted of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault or Murder.
-         No start date, this is retroactive (no matter how long ago the conviction was the 2013 exclusion of benefits will apply)
-         Per eAdvocate Version 5 of this bill would NOT be retroactive and has a start date, after the bill is  enacted into law.
-         Status – Pending in Committee

-         Denies Food Stamps / SNAP to anyone convicted of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault or Murder.
-         There is a start date, after the bill is enacted into law. This version is NOT retroactive as long as Sub-section C remains. But anyone convicted after the enacted date will be denied Food Stamps /SNAP benefits.
-         Will apply to the “family’s household benefit calculation”. This means the entire family suffers from benefits not just the RSO. This could break up families resulting in the RSO becoming homeless, foodless, maybe unregistered and a high chance they’ll commit a new crime to survive.
-         Status - Passed House on July 11, 2013, Passed Senate with changes on July 18, 2013, Pending in House for approval of changes.
-         This version is the one that has been acted on the most and at this time has the highest chance of becoming law.

-          Denies Food Stamps / SNAP to anyone convicted of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault or Murder.
-          There is a start date, after the bill is enacted into law. This version is NOT retroactive as long as Sub-section C remains. But anyone convicted after the enacted date will be denied Food Stamps /SNAP benefits.
-          Status - Passed House on September 19, 2013

-          Extension for SNAP benefits from deadline of 2013 to 2016, no one is excluded.
-          Status – Pending in Committee

S954 :
-         Vitter amendment denies Food Stamps / SNAP to anyone convicted of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault or Murder.
-        No start date, this is retroactive (no matter how long ago the conviction was the 2013 exclusion of benefits will apply)
-        Will apply to the “family’s household benefit calculation”. This means the entire family suffers from benefits not just the RSO. This could break up families resulting in the RSO becoming homeless, foodless, maybe unregistered and a high chance they’ll commit a new crime to survive.
-        Status - Passed Senate on June 10, 2013

What You Can Do, Let Your Voice be Heard: 


Just because you or your loved one doesn’t need Food Stamp Assistance today doesn’t mean these bills aren't relevant. And you really shouldn't take the attitude  “if it doesn’t affect me then I don't care”.

Any restriction imposed to RSO’s affects us all and we MUST speak up!

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.  

There could be a time down the road when you or your loved one needs Food Stamp/SNAP assistance and if one of these Bills has already become law depending on the final draft/version there will be RSO’s somewhere who are being denied assistance and maybe you or your loved one was included and then it’s too late. 

Date (not retroactive), no date (retroactive) in the end it any version that excludes any American because of a conviction is wrong!  

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 assistance programs should be managed.  Our elected officials should never justify a disqualification because of an unrelated conviction. Especially when their actions affect the spouses and children of that one person and they become collateral damage there is NOTHING justified in such a vengeful action!  

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. 

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

Thank you. 

Mary Devoy