Arkansas House backs expanding food stamp work requirement

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)   The Arkansas House has voted to expand the work requirement for people on the food stamp program.

The House voted 67-19 Tuesday in favor of a measure that would require able-bodied adults on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program under 60 to work if they have dependents between 6 and 18 years old, or have no dependents. The program currently requires able-bodied adults aged 19-49 with no dependents to work at least 80 hours a month.

Among the North Central Arkansas delegation, Representatives Nelda Speaks of Mountain Home, Jack Fortner of Yellville, Michelle Gray of Melbourne, Marsh Davis of Cherokee Village and John Payton of Wilburn voted in support of the measure.

The proposal now heads to the Senate for a vote.

More than 360,000 people are currently on food stamps in Arkansas. Supporters say the requirement would help move SNAP recipients out of poverty. Opponents of the bill say the requirement would cause thousands of Arkansans to lose their benefits and hurt the state's most vulnerable.

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