New Texas Bill Allows Some Felons To Receive Government Benefits

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A new Texas bill will make felons convicted on drug charges eligible to receive food stamps.

A section of Senate Bill 200, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 17, states that these felons will be able to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits upon completion of their sentences, where a lifetime ban once stood. 

However, the bill indicates that the lifetime ban will be imposed if subsequent felony offenses are committed. 

Rachel Cooper, senior policy analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said the new bill’s provisions guard people “from being held hostage for a crime that they did and paid for decades ago,” according to the Texas Tribune. 

“We’re hopeful that this will help part of the vulnerable population get on their feet and be successful,” Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas, said about the bill.  

Should parole terms be violated by a qualified felon, a two-year ban on these benefits will be enforced.

Senate Bill 200 was introduced in March, and eventually voted on by the house, with only one member voting against it. 

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission lists 3,678,400 people as SNAP recipients. Out of all welfare recipients, the ages 5-17 group has the most, with approximately 1.4 million. 

The provisions regarding felons and SNAP benefits will begin on Sept. 1. 

Sources: Texas Tribune, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Senate Bill 200, Texas Legislature

Photo Credit: Texas Tribune