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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

 5:18 PM 

FoodShare replacement card bill passes Assembly

A bill designed to curb FoodShare card trafficking cleared the Assembly on a 66-31 vote.

AB 200, written by Rep. David Heaton would set guidelines for the Department of Health Services when issuing replacement cards. The Wausau Republican’s original bill would have limited replacement cards to four in a calendar year.

But that would have required a federal waiver. Under a sub amendment to the bill passed by committee, the DHS would have to take certain steps at four replacement cards and beyond.

Those steps are:

* On the fourth request, the card is issued, but the recipient is notified additional requests could lead to referral to the Office of Inspector General.

* On the fifth request, the card is issued, the case is referred to the OIG and the recipient is notified of the review.

* On the sixth request, the recipient must contact the DHS to explain the need for another card. If there is no contact, then no card is issued. If there is contact but no explanation or suspicion of trafficking, the card is issued and the case is referred to the OIG. If contact is made and an appropriate explanation is given, the card is issued and the DHS educates the recipient on how to use the card.

* On subsequent requests within a 12-month period, the cards are issued to recipients who gave appropriate explanations after the sixth request.

The amended bill passed the Assembly’s Public Benefit Reform Committee on an 8-5 party-line vote.

The current FoodShare system automatically issued replacement cards upon request. The DHS has estimated the bill would cost $830,000 to implement and nearly $55,000 in ongoing costs to operate. Those costs would be split between the state and federal government.

The same five Dems who voted for AB 188 voted in favor of AB 200. They are: Jill Billings, of La Crosse; Chris Danou, of Trempealeau; Steve Doyle, of Onalaska; Eric Genrich, of Green Bay; and Nick Milroy, of South Range.

See the vote here.


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