ALERT: Food Stamps amendment proposed - War On Drugs hurts poor

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 7 Jun 1999 23:08:29 -0700 (PDT)


FWD via SHUNDAHAI NETWORK <greg@shundahai.org> http://www.shundahai.org

http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/OPINION/t000050727.html
Los Angeles Times OPINION - May 27, 1999

     LOSING FOOD STAMPS IN NOW PART OF THE WAR ON DRUGS

     By Herman Schwartz

WASHINGTON--The nation's never-ending war on drugs,
that perpetual futility, has always fallen most heavily on poor people.
This has usually been the result of discriminatory enforcement or, as with
laws against crack and cocaine, an unfair penalty structure. The latest
blow, however, has led to a direct attack on the poor.  Under a floor
amendment, proposed by Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), to the 1996 welfare law
and quickly adopted, anyone convicted of a felony for violating either a
state or federal drug law after Aug. 22, 1996, can never get food stamps
again. It makes no difference if the offender is sick, pregnant, a parent
of a small child, in a treatment program, has been drug-free for years, is
a first-time offender, works or is seeking work, a student or anything
else. Nothing the offender can do will restore food-stamp eligibility, and
administrators are allowed no discretion.

	There is one escape hatch: A state may choose not to go along  with
the federal ban or modify it. So far, at least 27 states, including New
York, Florida and Ohio, have opted out in whole or in part. California has
chosen not to opt out.

[ rest of the article can be found at
http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/OPINION/t000050727.html ]


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