Oklahoma Lawmakers Push For Food Stamp Restrictions

Tuesday, February 26th 2013, 10:13 pm
By: News 9

Lawmakers work to tighten the purse strings of welfare recipients making it harder to get on the state program.

Misuse of government money has been a hot topic at the capitol this legislative session. At least three different welfare bills are circulating through the capitol. So far, all are getting a lot of attention, especially a bill that would prohibit the use of welfare cash in strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos.

The talk of restricting how food stamps are used, and who's eligible to even get them has some tax payers questioning how their money is spent.

"There should be some kind of regulation at least, just a little bit, just to make sure people are making progress, or they still need it necessarily," said OKC resident, Heather Skiba.

"The program is going to have to be changed," Sen. Rob Standridge said.

Standridge calls his bill that would prohibit welfare cash cards in strip joints and liquor stores for example, just a small step in the right direction. Right now, the Oklahoma Debit MasterCard works like any bank issued debit card, which means, a recipient can get cash.

"I would like at some point to make it just a credit card," Standridge said.

"You should not be able to get cash, because that becomes a paycheck," said OKC resident, Ryan Potter.

Another lawmaker is pushing legislation to require people ages 18 to 50 who are not disabled or raising a child to perform at least 35 hours of pro-work activities before they're eligible to get assistance.

"A lot of people agree, they should be doing something that either enriches themselves so that they can go find a job, or they should be working," said Joe Griffin, Spokesperson for the Speaker of the House.

"I want tax payers to feel confident, that those people that are in need, are using the money where the tax payers are essentially, generously giving them that money to use," Standridge said.

Standridge hopes his bill hits the house floor, within the next week. Another bill also moving through the House would prohibit those convicted of a drug felony from getting food stamps.