Gov. Walker signs bill to prevent food stamp trafficking

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Governor Scott Walker

MADISON (WITI) — Gov. Scott Walker on Monday, July 22nd signed Assembly Bill 82 into law today at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Assembly Bill 82 places a criminal penalty on the trafficking of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as FoodShare in Wisconsin.

“This bill gives the state additional options to ensure Wisconsin’s FoodShare benefits are being properly used by those in need and it aligns state law with federal regulations,” Governor Walker said. “I thank Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Powers Lake) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) for their work on this bill, which received strong bipartisan support.”

Under the law, trafficking SNAP benefits now constitutes a criminal offense and is subject to various criminal penalties. Penalties range from fines and administrative sanctions up to a Class G felony. The penalty is determined by the cash value of the benefits trafficked and whether the violation was a first or a repeat offense.

Assembly Bill 82 defines the following transactions as trafficking:

  • Buying, selling, stealing, or otherwise exchanging SNAP benefits for cash or other consideration.
  • Exchanging firearms, ammunition, explosives, or controlled substances for SNAP benefits.
  • Using SNAP benefits to purchase food that has a container deposit for the sole purpose of returning the container for a cash refund.
  • Reselling food purchased with SNAP benefits.
  • Purchasing food that was previously purchased with SNAP benefits.
  • Any other act defined as SNAP trafficking under federal law.

The Department of Health Services and district attorneys estimate no fiscal impact for the state because the law simply gives authorities additional avenues to prosecute.

The bill passed the Assembly on a vote of 73-24 and the Senate on a vote of 28-5. Assembly Bill 82 is Act 42.