If they finish their sentences and comply with any terms of parole, Texans convicted on felony drug charges soon will be able to receive food stamps, though another strike will put them back under a lifetime ban.
Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 200 — a sunset law partially consolidating the state’s health and human services system — which included an amendment making people with felony drug convictions eligible for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Previously, a drug conviction meant a lifetime ban from food stamps.
Many states that opted to bar drug felons from SNAP for life when it was created in 1996 are now reversing course.
The change prevents people “from being held hostage for a crime that they did and paid for decades ago,” said Rachel Cooper, senior policy analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities.