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No food stamps for murderers and sex offenders under new farm bill?

A farm bill amendment is supposedly aimed at curbing rampant welfare fraud and abuse, but advocacy groups see it as another setback for the recovering incarcerated population.

An amendment to the pending farm bill that would deny food stamps to convicted murderers, rapists and pedophiles is receiving stiff opposition. Full Article

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  1. alert

    A farm bill amendment is supposedly aimed at curbing rampant welfare fraud and abuse.
    I love a good argument but where are the arguments for and against this bill?
    Am I expecting too much from the media? Without a view of a constructive debate, how is the average person supposed to see how this bill will reduce fraud and abuse.
    I can’t begin to express my rage at these advocacy groups and nearly three dozen criminal justice and civil rights groups who only complain about the impact to the aforementioned felons and their families.
    Their anger and rhetoric should be first directed towards how impotent the SNAP has been in reducing fraud and abuse and how immoral it is to make these unpopular scapegoats pay the bill.
    Where are the good Christians marching in protest of the injustice and immorality of such a bill? Where is the message of forgiveness for those who seek repentance?
    Where is the psychological community condemning this as a cruel act upon many offenders who were unfortunately conditioned to violate sexual taboos as children and generally live lawful lives.
    Murderers, rapists, and pedophiles may be proficient in violating certain laws but food stamp fraud?…let’s get real folks!

  2. stay strong

    The government entitlement comment just cracked me up and angered me at the same time.

  3. Eric Knight

    Well, it’s happened, and the sex offender clause is still in the bill that passed both the senate and the house. All the bill is waiting for is the President’s signature, and he’s most likely going to sign it.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/04/senate-expected-to-pass-massive-5-year-farm-bill/

    Here is the offending part of the bill:

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/hr2642-113/text

    SEC. 4037. 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 undersection 2241 of title 18, United States Code;
    ‘(B) murder undersection 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).
    ‘(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.
    ‘(3) ENFORCEMENT- Each State shall require each individual applying for benefits under this Act, during the application process, to state, in writing, whether the individual, or any member of the household of the individual, has been convicted of a crime described in paragraph (1).’.
    (b) Conforming Amendment- Section 5(a) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2014(a)), as amended by section 109, is amended in the 2d sentence by striking ‘and (r)’ and inserting ‘, (r), and (t)’.
    (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.

    Virtually everyone on the registry will be subject to this restriction.

    QUESTION: Would this bill, if passed, be subject for a CA RSOL court challenge? Particularly because of the higher percentage of registrants who have need of SNAP assistance.

  4. Tim

    Ya know now where we got to go to get a meal when we starvin’: prison. Them fat cat agribusinessers, they now rolling in subsidies, then sell the cheap produce to prison industry. It’s the neo-libral corp-rape utopia economy. We just commodities, brother.

  5. j

    Retroactive punishment. I raised my daughter as a single parent. She was born when the “initial” punishment phase of my case was “over”. By initial I am NOT referring to the punishment that was placed on me and my family years after my sentence was “completed”. I’ve had to enclose certain terms in apostrophes since they apparently up for debate, discussion and distortion in lawmakers’ circles.

    So had this bill passed soon after my case was “closed”, my daughter would have been disqualified from food had we the need to receive food stamps? Whatever their smoking in Washington…

  6. Will

    When viewed in the total cumulative effect, the sex offender laws in place across this nation have virtually ensured 100% that these individuals can never find work. Now with this new farm bill, many will go hungry as will the children of these individuals. This needs to be fought all the way to the supreme court.

    These individuals are being told they have one of two choices: die of starvation and/or exposure or go back to prison. Either way the message is clear that they are being told they no longer matter as human beings.

    • j

      And their children can be in poverty and starve to death as well. Family values – just not ours…

  7. Eric Knight

    I want to clarify something: This bill ONLY applies to those convicted AFTER Obama signed the bill, not before, so most of us are eligible for benefits. However, this is an issue that should still be addressed.

    We are coming to a point where a court will have to accept a case that demonstrates the registry is punitive in its effect, so we don’t have to fight each and every new law that comes down the pike on a one-by-one basis. Hopefully, we’ll come to that point soon.

    • j

      Thanks for clearing that up. An attorney had mentioned to me before that many of the clauses in the federal bills were not retroactive but still many of the actions taken against us are. I don’t know how to unravel all of these things that may or may not affect us. I guess it is asking too much for those that put these legal “contraptions” in place to let us know that they have the constitution in mind when they come up with these things. I don’t know of any lawmakers that are up to the task of doing things right from what I’ve seen.

  8. brianna

    I didn’t understand a word of that and plus it didn’t even answer my question. Can somebody else please try and answer my question for me and tell me if sex offenders can get food stamps or not that is all that i was trying to figure out and all this stupid bill or what ever you want to call it did was confuse me so can somebody please help me out and explain this stupid bill to me please and answer my question for me as well please i would greatly appreciate it very much. Thank you.

    • Rob

      Yes, when I was out of work, I received food stamsps. There are NO restrictions on this, only for drug offenses.

  9. 4sensiblePolicies

    Brianna,
    When this bill came up in 2013, it was intended to cut off all persons convicted of a variety of sexual offenses (mostly against minors or aggravated offenses). Ironically, it was introduced by Sen. David Vitter, who had previously admitted in engaging in sex with prostitutes – which would make him a sex offender himself in most jurisdictions had he been prosecuted and convicted.

    We (people who fight these insane proposals) argued that the proposal amounted to punishment after the fact. So, it is my understanding that someone convicted of certain sex offenses AFTER the bill was passed (sometime in 2013) may be denied food stamps.

    BUT, it is imperative that if you need food stamps, you go through the application process. No one should make any assumption they are or not eligible from an internet message board. If there is some sort of restriction, it should be spelled out in the application process (usually in the ‘I certify’ section where you are asked questions about eligibility).

    These things are confusing. It ought not be your responsibility to decipher some cryptic federal statute. If there is a restriction, it needs to be disclosed to you during the application and made clear enough what the restriction is so that you do not knowingly violate it. I pray that you are not affected by this disgusting policy which was brought into existence by a hypocrite.

  10. David

    This is insane!
    1. No where to live due to residency restrictions!
    2. No employment due to Registry! And now,
    3. No food to eat due to no food stamps!
    But they’ll require lifetime GPS anklets costing $300 a month.
    And mandatory hearing noticed in newspapers for a few hundred dollars more in order to argue for your rights (in front of a mob of pitchfork-wielding villagers)!
    What the Hell is happening to this country??!
    The Supreme Court really need to address all this craziness.

    • Timmr

      Certain groups of people now have been designated commodities. The purpose is to support the security industrial arm of the economy, and provide jobs for people in those fields.
      We could have full employment of people rebuilding our country and taking care of all the problems we face in the realm of the end of fossil fuels, inequity, violence, jobs going overseas, education, and advancing this country into this new century. Instead our politicians are taking us back two, three, five centuries. Public shaming, branding, creating an under class of criminals. The only thing that motivates people to action nowadays is the bogeyman. Science is out. Whatever you fear most is in. Ignoring reality doesn’t prevent it from coming and biting us in the behind. We are even bringing back the measles. Wonderful.

  11. anonymously

    4sensible Policies…”Sen. David Vitter, who had previously admitted in engaging in sex with prostitutes – which would make him a sex offender himself in most jurisdictions had he been prosecuted and convicted.”

    The majority of states do not consider adult prostitution a registerable sex crime. Even Nevada, which is trying to be a AWA state, has legalized prostitution.

  12. anonymously

    After doing some research, it looks like David Vitters home state of Louisiana could register him for a conviction of Crime Against Nature Solicitation, prior to 2011. If he were charged, the prosecutor could either have charged him with Solicitation of Prostitution, which wouldn’t have required registration prior to 2011. Or they could have charged him with CANS, Crime Against Nature Solicitation, which he would’ve had to register for. Yes, Vitter is a hypocrite who was rumored to have worn diapers and pretended to be an infant as part of his roleplaying with prostitutes. And this guy is running for Governor of Louisiana, replacing the very stupid Jindal, and probably will win. Vitter asked for forgiveness for his sins from his constituency. He got it, but most likely not those he will most likely terrorize with new RSO laws once he becomes Governor.

    • Joe

      I remember the diaper story. That guy is a real winner. Only exceeded by the masses that vote him into office.

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