Drug felons to get food stamps in some states looking to reduce prison population

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By: Grant Schulte and Scott McFetridge/Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — As states look to reduce spending on prison and deal with overcrowded conditions, many are opting out of a federal law that bans convicted drug felons from ever receiving food stamps.

Texas and Alabama lawmakers recently changed their laws to allow food stamps to former drug felons, and Georgia is moving toward a similar change.

The idea is to help ex-offenders stay out of prison, where they would run up a big bill for taxpayers.

There was majority support to make the change in Nebraska, but some lawmakers used a procedural move to block the effort. Supporters plan to try again next year.

If Georgia changes its rules, eight states will retain the lifetime ban: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.