Wisconsin Assembly To Vote On Bills Targeting Food Stamp Fraud

| by Robert Fowler
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The Wisconsin Assembly will vote on several pieces of legislation designed to curb food stamp abuse on Nov. 3. The four bills target fraud in the state’s FoodShare program.

Wisconsin has been trying to cut down on welfare abuse under the leadership of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. In early 2015, the state implemented a law requiring applicants without children to be actively seeking work to receive food benefits, The Daily Signal reports.

Legislation proposed by Walker requires food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing, according to The Associated Press.

The four new bills target welfare recipients who take advantage of Wisconsin’s FoodShare program.

“It is vital for the state of Wisconsin to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens have access to the support they need to provide for their families and build a better life,”  Republican Rep. Dave Heaton of Wausau tells The Daily Signal. “However, it’s equally important to ensure that our state’s entitlement programs, like FoodShare, aren’t abused in a way that wastes taxpayer dollars.”

The first bill will require a photo of the welfare recipient be included on FoodShare debit cards, also known as Quest cards. The second piece of legislation would allow FoodShare recipients three Quest cards each. If the recipient requests a fourth card, they will be given a warning. If they ask for fifth, they will then be investigated for fraud, AP reports.

The third bill would require that any account that has not been used for six months to be taken away by the state. The final bill would block any recipient caught lying on his or her application from receiving unemployment benefits for seven years, according to AP.

Opponents of the proposals argue they will make it harder for welfare recipients to receive FoodShare benefits. Sherrie Tussler, the executive director of Wisconsin’s Hunger Task Force, says that “It’s absolutely ridiculous we’re talking about who should or should not get food,” AP reports.

The bills must pass both the Wisconsin Assembly and senate before Walker can sign off on them, The Daily Signal reports.

Sources: AP via Wisconsin GazetteThe Daily Signal / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr