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New Texas Law Allows Drug Offenders To Apply For Food Stamps

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW) - A law that was passed during the Legislative session is about to take effect September 1, it will allow first-time drug felons to apply for food stamps.

The law, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, will allow eligible Texans who complete their sentences to apply for and begin receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -  if they follow their parole instructions and don't get in trouble again.

Previously, a drug conviction meant a lifetime ban from food stamps.

"There may be people convicted of a drug offense, but they might have a kid that's hungry, or a grandkid that's hungry" said State Rep Mark Veasey. "They need to be able to feed them."

Currently, about 3.6 million Texans receive food stamps through SNAP, according to the state Health and Human Services Commission. It is unknown how many more people will become eligible for benefits after the law takes effect.

According to reports, many states that opted to bar drug felons from SNAP for life when it was created in 1996 are now reversing course. Texas is the 44th state to opt-out of the Federal law.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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