People with felony drug convictions no longer would be able to receive food stamps in Oklahoma, according to a bill approved Monday by a legislative committee.
The House of Representatives Human Services Committee voted 6-2 to pass House Bill 2014, which would prohibit those convicted of a drug felony from being eligible for food stamps.
Rep. Sean Roberts, the bill's author, said children and others in a household would be able to qualify for food stamps.
Roberts, R-Hominy, said his bill would make the state reverse a 1997 decision to opt out of a federal law that disqualified individuals who have been convicted of a felony drug offense from qualifying for the food stamp program.
If passed, all those convicted of a drug offense since 1997 would be ineligible to qualify for the food stamp program, he said.
HB 2014 also would make those who have more than $5,000 in cash, in a bank account or in stocks and bonds ineligible to receive food stamps.
The committee also approved House Bill 1909, which would require able-bodied recipients of food stamps between the ages of 18 to 50 and who are not disabled or raising a child to perform at least 35 hours of work activities to receive food stamps. Activities include job seeking and career training, volunteer work and-or education directly related to employment opportunities.
“The best social program is a hardworking, good-paying job,” said House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, the bill's author.
“We can break the cycle of poverty by getting rid of incentives that encourage people to stay unemployed and instead direct them down the path of opportunity. If we reduce the number of people on government subsidies, social programs can be better directed towards those who truly need the assistance.”
Both HB 2014 and HB 1909 advance to the House Calendar Committee, which will determine whether they will receive a hearing by the full House.
We can break the cycle of poverty by getting rid of incentives that encourage people to stay unemployed and instead direct them down the path of opportunity.”
House Speaker T.W. Shannon,