If you’re poor and live in Florida, your life is about to get worse.
Republicans in the Florida senate passed a food stamp reduction bill on Friday; HB 581 Family Self-Sufficiency. That means more than a quarter-million Floridians that previously had help, will now go hungry.
The bill changes income eligibility requirements for food stamps to 130 percent of the federal poverty line, instead of the current 200 percent rate. The reduction is estimated to kick about 229,000 veterans, seniors, and disabled people off the food stamp rolls. The hardest hit from those numbers are children.
To enforce the new rules, new and existing Florida food stamp applicants will be subjected to additional income verification.
Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami) said, “The bill is needed to reduce food stamp fraud,” according to the Tampa Tribune.
Lowering the poverty line requirement has nothing to do with fraud since it only addresses income. But starve-the-poor proponents are sticking to their usual talking points. Trujillo claimed he had seen people in grocery stores using their SNAP food stamp card while holding “a Mercedes key chain.” He doesn’t mention how many people he ‘saw’, whether or not they actually owned a new Mercedes, or offered any proof that he wasn’t imagining the allegedly repeated incidents.
In addition to making it harder for poor people to get food stamps, HB 581 adds additional work requirements to “increase employment among certain persons receiving temporary cash assistance.”
Florida’s effort to make more children and low-income people go hungry was passed along party lines with all 18 Republicans voting for the measure; 9 Democrats voted against. It is expected to be signed into law by the creepiest governor in America, Republican Rick Scott, and take effect on January 1, 2018.
To contact the Florida legislature, visit https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find
Fight for your rights by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121
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