Assembly speaker calls for bill to boost food, energy aid

February 8, 2018

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin says he will push a measure aimed at giving greater assistance to residents who use the program once known as food stamps.

Coughlin, a Democrat in his first term as speaker, discussed his plans Thursday at a statehouse news conference. He says combating hunger in the state is a top priority.

Under the legislation, every household eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps, would get a $21 energy assistance payment.

That then qualifies those families for greater nutritional assistance.

Coughlin estimates the legislation could help up to 160,000 families.

Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the legislation previously. His administration estimated it would carry a cost of between $3 million and $7 million.

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