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Bills restricting food stamp eligibility advance in Oklahoma House

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: February 26, 2013
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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.

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