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House reluctantly passes bill to limit access to food stamps

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An Arizona House Republican promised to remove provisions that would cut off as many as 120,000 people from the state’s food stamp program in order to get his measure’s fraud protections passed.

The Arizona House reluctantly approved the measure Tuesday on a 33-26 vote, after four members changed their vote during a speech by bill sponsor Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa.

Olson promised during the vote that he would remove a provision that eliminates or reduces benefits for nearly 80,000 people who currently receive food stamps through a federal waiver that allows able-bodied adults without children to receive food stamp benefits.

“I have agreed to make an amendment in the Senate to remove that portion of the bill that prohibits the waiver request,” he said.

Later, in an interview with The Associated Press, Olson said he would remove another provision that cuts or reduces benefits for 40,000 people who received automatic eligibility through other low-income assistance programs.

Olson said he would take out the provisions to get his fraud requirements passed to ensure food stamp benefits go to people who actually qualify for them.

The fraud provisions would require the department to add photo identification to benefit cards, though recipients could choose to decline to have their photos taken. Legislative analysts estimate it would cost $12 million in the first year and $8 million annually.

More than a half-dozen Democrats rose to speak out against the measure citing statistics from the Department of Economic Security that 18,000 children would lose their benefits.

“This is the first time I have ever heard of the economic theory that the path to prosperity and self-reliance and wellbeing and money was achieved through starvation,” said Rep. Lela Alston of Phoenix.

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5 comments

  1. Bills can be amended on the House floor during COW . It is one thing to pass it out of committee, done a lot, though not good practice. No excuses for the 33 voting for this bill. Enjoy your mailers in the fall!

  2. WHY is the term ‘reluctantly’ used in this article? I watched the entire debate. A more appropriate word would be ‘gleefully’.

  3. What are 80,000 starving Arizonans (and members of their families) to these fat and happy legislators? If these were wealthy or even (white) middle-class folks threatened with hunger, Republican pols would be all over themselves to preserve their perqs.

    Welcome to democracy flavored with class and race discrimination leading to hungry people who become sick people who die as a result of “policy,” a word that used to carry with it concern for all the people.

    As a state we should all be ashamed of these thugs.

  4. “able-bodied adults without children to receive food stamp benefits”. The problem with the passing of the old guard, is that we remember when you had to work to eat. You’re a lazy bum that spends your money on “medical marijuana?” These people can go out and work. Maybe they should band together to get Obama to deport the non-citizens that are taking their jobs. If they want to get a sign and stick their hand out and beg for food, fine, but these people should not be receiving my tax dollars that I work for and taking food off of my table!!!

  5. This is another example of DISCRIMINATION against a marginalized class of peoples: childless adults!!

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