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Senate health committee tables SNAP bill Tuesday

February 6, 2019

CHARLESTON — As the West Virginia House of Delegates’ version of the bill sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee on Tuesday chose to table the Senate version of a bill to opt out of the federal lifetime ban on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits for felony drug offenders.

After 30 minutes of senators questioning counsel on the intent and purpose of the bill, SB 394, committee chairman Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, decided to table the bill so he could discuss what Senate Judiciary chairman Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, intends to do with House Bill 2459.

The Senate bill modified the ban so anyone charged with trafficking SNAP benefits for drug-related use could not receive SNAP benefits. The House bill completely lifts the ban.

Currently, only West Virginia, Mississippi and South Carolina have not opted out of the ban in some way. Federal law only exempts felony drug offenders from receiving benefits for life, meaning even a convicted murderer can receive benefits upon release from prison, but not a drug offender.

Studies have shown access to benefits like SNAP reduces recidivism rates.

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