1996 Welfare Reform Act Still Effects Ex-Drug Offenders

According to an independent study group out of the nation’s capital, it is estimated that approximately 92,000 women and 135,000 children have been negatively affected by the 1996 Welfare Reform act that prohibits ex-drug offenders from receiving federal assistance like welfare and food stamps.

However, many of the state’s that originally voted for the bill have slowly but surely been passing legislature to repeal the 1996 Welfare Reform act. For example, in October of 2004, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California state government decided to reinstate eligibility for ex-drug offenders as part of the Drug Policy Alliance.

For all the state’s that repealed the 1996 Welfare Reform act, it seemed that the bill was completely discriminatory in that sex offenders or murders were not barred from federal assistance, while drug offenders, most of whom were in recovery and in desperate need of services, were disqualified from any form of aid.

The latest to join the fight was the Missouri state government. Democratic senator, Yvonne Wilson, out of Kansas City is sponsoring new legislation that would reinstate food stamp eligibility to more than 15,000 Missourians with drug convictions. For Missourians and their state government, it is a matter of doing the right thing to ensure economic justice for ex-drug offenders.