A request to stagger the issuance of food stamps to thousands of Idaho residents made its way out of the Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee this morning, even though funding for the project has yet to be ironed out with the office of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
"Is the intent of the Governor's Office to make sure that there's adequate funding to handle the changes and the IT system requirements?" asked House Minority Leader Rep. John Rusche.
"That's still being discussed, but there is no agreement at this time," said Nampa Republican Rep. Christy Perry.
Food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are currently issued on a single day—the first of the month—but Perry's measure would see the issuance of food stamps over the course of 10 days.
A similar effort was attempted during the 2013 Idaho legislative session, but failed to pass.
This year's bill indicates that there "have been numerous cost estimates associated with food stamps staggered issuance which have ranged from $293,400 to $683,200 for implementation," but Perry is requesting that the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare use so-called food stamp "bonus money" from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the change.
The House Health and Welfare Committee sent the bill to the full House with a "do pass" recommendation.