House, Senate disagree on drug-testing in food stamp bill

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The House and Senate have agreed to remove Louisiana’s one-year prohibition on drug felons from getting food stamps and welfare benefits when they leave prison. But they diverge on whether the offenders should have to pass drug tests to maintain their eligibility for benefits.

The House amended the bill by Rep. Helena Moreno, a New Orleans Democrat, to add the drug-testing provision. The Senate passed the measure Saturday in a 22-14 vote with the requirement stripped.

The two sides will have to agree on a final version of the proposal before it can reach the governor’s desk.

Moreno’s legislation is part of a package of bills aimed at lessening Louisiana’s prison rate and improving opportunities for those exiting prison so they don’t reoffend.

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House Bill 681: http://www.legis.la.gov

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