New and Improved?: House Bill 222 Remains Cruel

Vegetarian dietHouse Bill 222, which previously would have imposed a lifetime ban for all people convicted of drug felonies from receiving SNAP/food stamp benefits and other forms of public assistance, has been amended in response to public outcry.

Unfortunately, the redrafted bill remains flawed at heart. The bottom line is, access to such basic subsistence such as food should not be banned once someone has completed their prison sentence. While HB 222 now exempts domestic violence survivors with a documented "judicial adjudication" of abuse, this still leaves out the majority of survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and human trafficking. Amendments have also decreased the lifetime ban to 20 years, an empty promise for those wanting to rebuild their lives upon release from prison or completion of a drug treatment program.

Because there will be a vote this week or early next, prompt action must be taken to stop this flawed bill from becoming law. You can make sure your voice is heard by calling your state representative and urging him or her to oppose HB 222.

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