Still more from the annals of Arkansas legislative efforts to grind the poor by Rep. Mary Bentley of Perry County.
Already drawing fire from the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus for her bill aiming to stop use of the SNAP, or food stamp program, for unhealthy purchases such as soft drinks, Bentley stepped up her game yesterday with a new bill expanding the pool of people who could lose benefits for not participating in employment programs.
Her HB 1775 would toughen the state’s already tough SNAP requirements. In short, according to a quick analysis, she would expand the population covered by the work requirement from a top age of 49 to 60 and also reduce household benefits for those with children aged 6 to 18 who failed to work enough.
The law currently requires 20 hours of work or participating in a work training program by all able-bodied adults aged 18 to 49 who are not pregnant or parent of a minor dependent child. Failure to meet this rule for three months in a 36-month period ends eligibility for the individual for the rest of the 36-month period. According to a 2016 analysis, Arkansas is one of 17 states with tougher disqualification rules than those set by federal law. Under federal rules, you can lose benefits for up to six months for three months’ failure to meet the work requirement
There are no work requirements for the millionaires with inherited wealth who just got a multi-million-dollar income tax cut.
Bentley’s bill, by the way, appears to be modeled on cookie-cutter legislation being circulated nationally by a right-wing organization, the Foundation for Government Accountability.