From Sen. J.B. Jennings:
Fighting Food Stamp Fraud
One of my major efforts this session is reforming Maryland’s fraud-ridden entitlement programs.
I promised to update you each week on a piece of my legislative agenda, and am especially proud to say that I am introducing a bill requiring Drug Testing to Receive Temporary Cash Assistance.
This past year, Florida passed a law requiring anyone who applies for TCA (food stamps) to submit to random drug testing. If the individual fails the test, he or she forfeits their privilege to receive food stamps.
In the case of families with children, the money would go to the Department of Social Services to provide for the children’s needs.
There has been a nationwide rise in cases where individuals are fraudulently abusing government assistance to subsidize their drug additions rather than using the cash assistance for the intended purpose of providing food to their families.
Federal data indicates that Maryland ranks 2nd in the nation for food stamp fraud. In fact, additional General Fund tax dollars are required to support TCA payments this year and next, because Maryland’s poor record has caused it to lose federal block grant dollars that would normally pay for the program.
Sadly, since President Obama took office, Justice Department data says that the number of criminal prosecutions for defrauding food stamp programs has dropped 20% to its lowest in a decade. While the Administration and the Justice Department are taking a passive approach to deter fraudulent TCA abuse, my bill will do the opposite.
The TCA program is meant to provide for needy families in desperate circumstances, not to enable further substance abuse, fraud, or child neglect. Random drug testing would be a first credible step by the State to reduce program abuse and prevent more wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.
I will keep you informed on the progress of this bill, as well as the one I discussed last week (locking the Transportation Trust Fund so it can’t be raided for non-transportation projects).
If you have an opinion on this bill or any other, or on the tax-and-spend budget that Gov. O’Malley proposed this week, please contact me.
As always, I am proud to represent you.
Senator J.B. Jennings
Thanks to My Family’s Hero
It’s not every day that you get to thank someone who saves a life you care about.
But on the Saturday night before session began, I got to do just that. I hosted my second annual Pre-Session Party at Richardson Farms in White Marsh, and was honored to welcome flight paramedic Chris Tappan as my guest of honor.
Chris was on the MedEvac helicoptor that took my dad to Shock Trauma in October following his tree-trimming accident at the house.
MedEvac flight paramedic Chris Tappan and his wonderful family. Chris helped save my dad’s life.
Surrounded by more than 100 constituents, neighbors, my fellow Air National Guardsmen, and most importantly, my family, I was able to recognize Chris for the work he does every day to save lives like my dad’s.
You may remember back in 2008 that a Maryland MedEvac helicoptor crashed amidst foggy weather conditions, killing an accident victim aboard along with its flight paramedic, emergency medical technician, and pilot. This job is dangerous. The sacrifice and courage of paramedics like Chris is amazing. I was especially touched to meet his wife and young son as well.
As I noted in my remarks that evening at Richardson’s, there are a lot of things that Maryland does wrong. But one of the things we have right is our emergency medical services. Our state-run MedEvac program is top-notch, and it’s because of people like Mike.
I want to thank everyone who joined me for our great evening. We enjoyed steak sliders, a mashed potato bar, cornbread-wrapped bacon (I had to try it!), and plenty of great company. Even my father was able to join us.
My parents, Joyce & Gary, at our pre-session party. I’m glad they could be there, for so many reasons.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit Richardson Farms , please do. It is an example of a local business that is thriving by listening to its local customers. The owner, Les, offers an excellent selection of baked goods, fresh vegetables & fruits, and hot deli lunches. Please support them if you are in the area, on Ebenezer Road between Belair and Rt. 40.
I’m already looking forward to seeing everyone there next year!