Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dropped out of the GOP presidential race and he’s now on his way out of his position as governor, but his successor, Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards, is already making strides to change Jindal’s food stamp policies.
Jindal enacted job requirements for more than 60,000 recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Louisiana, but Edwards sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture stating he will seek a federal waiver, which Jindal had let expire, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report reported.
Edwards cited Louisiana’s high unemployment rate and claimed it exempted the state from a federal mandate which requires those receiving food stamps to be in job training or working at least 20 hours a week if they’re under the age of 50, single and don’t have children. The new requirements were scheduled to be instated on Jan. 1, but Edwards wants a year to improve and create state training programs.
“I believe that we should do everything possible to assist those that are able to return to gainful employment so that they will no longer be in need of the SNAP Program,” Edwards wrote to Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the state's family services department.
Edwards told WWL-TV in a statement that the Jan. 1 deadline would affect 31,000 adults who would lose $194 a month in food assistance.
Jindal’s administration has already slammed the lawsuit filed by Edwards, but it’s not clear if it will attempt to block the change before Edwards’ Jan. 11 inauguration. “Having a job is empowering. This decision will mean more able-bodied Louisianians will be dependent on the government and discouraged from joining the workforce,” Jindal spokesman Mike Reed said in a statement.