Kerkman co-authored FoodShare trafficking bill signed into law

(From left) Sen. Alberta Darling, Gov. Scott Walker, Rep. Samantha Kerkman. /Contributed photo

(From left) Sen. Alberta Darling, Gov. Scott Walker, Rep. Samantha Kerkman. /Contributed photo

Assembly Bill 82, which criminalizes FoodShare trafficking at the state level, was signed into law Monday by Gov. Scott Walker. The bill was brought forward by state Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Randall) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).

AB 82 passed in the State Assembly earlier this session on a vote of 73-24, and shortly thereafter passed the State Senate on a vote of 28-5. AB 82 is now Wisconsin Act 42. 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 such as Facebook. While trafficking of food stamp benefits is already a federal crime, it was not a state crime in Wisconsin until

Said Kerkman:

This new law creates an important deterrent for those considering selling or trading their food stamp benefits. District attorneys now have the power to prosecute those who misuse this important, taxpayer-funded benefit. I’m pleased that Governor Walker recognized the need for this law in our state.”

Act 42 adds trafficking FoodShare benefits to the list of welfare benefit offenses that are subject to penalties under state law. Under the new law 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.

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