GOP Governor To Ex-Cons On SNAP: You Made A Mistake, Your Kids Should Starve

paul lepage

Maine Governor Paul LePage, notorious for holding the shiny object of poor-shaming in front of a base of ignorant rural constituents, has taken his attacks on the less fortunate to a new level.

A new bill introduced to committee in the Maine Legislature seeks to deny TANF and SNAP, better known as welfare and food stamps, to anyone with a felony drug conviction.

A father who was arrested at a college kegger in 1987 and charged with a felony cocaine possession would be automatically denied, even if that were the only trouble he had ever been in. His children would therefore be ineligible as well.

A recovering addict with 15 years of sobriety who falls on hard times is out of luck, and a single mom who was arrested along with her boyfriend because he was carrying drugs a decade ago can forget about any kind of assistance, which is often the pathway to furthering education or job training.

Don’t bother looking to have your mistake expunged, either. In Maine your only recourse is executive clemency, and this governor has made it clear that people with drug or DUI convictions can forget it.

The bill also comes with a drug-screening questionnaire. Applicants deemed “high risk” by their answers would then be subject to a drug test, even though such practices have always proved fruitless and costly.

LePage urged lawmakers to push the bill through so we can stop spending tax dollars on people displaying “reprehensible personal behavior.”

Poor-shaming has become a sporting event for Republicans; many won their seats in 2014 for doing nothing but. This particular bill goes beyond that. People who have been convicted of crimes and paid their debt to society, under the 5th Amendment, can’t be tried again. By holding them responsible months, years or decades later for the same crime raises a constitutional dilemma that has killed similar bills in the past.

The 8th Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment. Forcing a person, and quite likely their children, to go hungry regardless of the charge or how long ago it happened, is clearly another side-step of one of our most important human rights.

Let’s not forget that Governor LePage is also the man who wants to restrict SNAP recipients’ purchases, forbidding them from buying cookies for their kids or taxable “prepared foods,” which by state law includes deli meats in bulk and large jars of spaghetti sauce or pickles.

Make no mistake: This entire poor-hating campaign is nothing but the Mainer version of “keep em’ looking away while I give the money we’ll save to my rich buddies.”

Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info