General Assembly Hearing On Food Stamp Bill Today

Mar 5, 2014

A hearing is slated for today in the general assembly on a bill that would require families using food stamps to show photo identification.  The bill has generated critics who say it’s unfair and unnecessary.

A committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would require users to show photo identification.
Credit Don Boorman / RIPR

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Patricia Morgan of West Warwick says the bill would fight fraud within the program.  Scamming the system happens when someone uses the benefits to buy products not covered by the program, such as cigarettes and alcohol, or when someone exchanges their benefits in return for cash.

However, the federal agency which runs the program says the level of fraud is only about one percent.  Critics say requiring photo ID’s would be an administrative nightmare, as food stamps are issued to households, not individuals.   And they say the bill could also stigmatize the state’s poorest residents.

A vote has yet to be scheduled.

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