South Carolina State Representative proposes drug testing for SN

South Carolina State Representative proposes drug testing for SNAP recipients

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With cases of food stamp fraud making headlines all across the country, South Carolina State Representative Chris Corley wants to make it a little harder for residents to abuse the system.

Corley said his goal isn't to take anything away from people who need help. But, he believes loop holes in the system have to be closed.

Residents like Amanda Chambers wonders where this will leave her.

"I'm a college student. I work full time and I have to take care of my family," said Chambers.

She said she wishes her full plate of responsibilities could translate into a full meal for both herself and nine-year-old daughter Leena.

But, because her take home pay so low, she has to depend on SNAP benefits.

Corley said he wants to make sure those benefits are reaching residents like Chambers, and not falling into the wrong hands.

"I sat down and took a look at the laws and thought that we could make an attempt to eliminate the fraud," said Corley. 

That fraud that has cost taxpaying residents of South Carolina millions of dollars each year.

Corley has introduced a series of bills proposing drug testing the state's SNAP recipients, as well as putting limits on what able-bodied adults with no dependants can receive.

Corley said, "It would be random drug testing. We've got a whole set of criteria if you fail a drug test. The punishments get worse up to a third offense."

Some resident stand behind the proposal.

"I worked hard; my tax money is going towards that. Why not drug test them?" said Donna Harris.

Others said the resources to police how food stamps are spent would be better served in other areas.

"I think it's a horrible idea because they're going to waste more tax money getting people tested," said Tanya Harding, a new resident of North Augusta. 

Chambers said she understands the need for reform. She just hopes the proposed changes don’t leave people like her with the short end of the stick.

"Should I not be able to have food stamps or assistance to help feed my family? That's not fair," said Chambers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided funds to South Carolina for investigators to look into allegations of food stamp fraud, as well as a prosecutor in the Attorney General's Office to handle these types of cases.

Corley said he hopes the final draft of these bills will make it to the governor's desk by this summer.

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