Lawmaker drops proposal to make food stamp cards bright orange - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Lawmaker drops proposal to make food stamp cards bright orange

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Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 10:07 pm | Updated: 1:35 pm, Fri Feb 18, 2011.

A first-term lawmaker has dropped his proposal to make food stamp debit cards bright orange.

Rep. Jeff Dial, R-Chandler, told members of the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday he would not push his original version of HB 2675. Aside from the mandate on the Department of Economic Security to have the cards "safety orange,'' he also dropped a requirement for bold lettering spelling out "Government Food Stamp Card.''

Dial said he remains concerned that legitimate recipients of aid under what is formally known as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Aid Program were selling their cards for 50 cents cash for each dollar of value. He said that amounts to fraud.

But current law, Dial said, makes it a crime only for someone enrolled in the program to sell the card, not for anyone else to use it. He said the bold new cards would inform retailers to demand identification from the users.

State officials said both the unusual card and the ID demand both likely run afoul of federal regulations.

What's left of the now-amended bill criminalizes the use of food stamps that were purchased illegally. Violators would face a presumptive term of 18 months in prison.

The measure now goes to the full House.

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