Rep. Kerkman’s FoodShare trafficking bill passes state Senate

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman /Contributed photo

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman /Contributed photo

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman’s office released the following statement:

Assembly Bill 82, which criminalizes FoodShare trafficking at the state level, passed the State Senate on a vote of 28-5. The bill was brought forward by Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Randall) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills). AB 82 passed in the State Assembly last month on a vote of 73-24. A Fox 6 story in Milwaukee in May 2011 found recipients trading benefit cards for cash. A story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel told of how benefits are trafficked on websites like Facebook. While trafficking of food stamp benefits is already a federal crime, it isn’t yet on the books in Wisconsin as a state crime. “I’m glad that AB 82 has passed both houses of the Legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law,” Rep. Kerkman said. “This bill will make a significant impact to reduce fraud in the FoodShare program and protect the benefit for those who need it most.” AB 82 adds trafficking FoodShare benefits to the list of welfare benefit offenses that are subject to penalties under state law. Under the bill that Darling and Kerkman coauthored, a person traffics benefits if they do any of the following: · Buy, sell, steal, or otherwise exchange benefits issued and accessed through the electronic benefit transfer program, or manually, for cash or other consideration. · Exchanges firearms, ammunition, explosives, or controlled substances for benefits. · Use benefits to purchase food that has a container deposit for the sole purpose of returning the container for a cash refund. · Resell food purchased with benefits for cash or other consideration. · Purchase, for cash or other consideration, food that was previously purchased from a supplier using their benefits.

The Senate vote took place Tuesday.


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