Currently in California, if you are convicted of drug offenses, you can never access CalFresh or food stamp benefits. This doesn’t get us any closer to having healthy, strong communities, and certainly doesn’t make us any safer. It’s time for this law to go, and we’re really close to doing just that.
SB 283, a bill that would eliminate this absurd rule, is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee “suspense file” and must get out of committee by the end of August. On August 20, people from across California are calling Assemblymember Mike Gatto, Chair of the committee, to ask him to move SB 283 off of suspense so that it can be voted on by the full Assembly. We must help end the cycle of hunger and poverty by ending this absurd policy that continues to punish people who are trying to reform their lives.
What to do:
• If you live in LA, call Assemblymember Gatto’s LA office at (818) 558-3043.
• If you live outside of LA, call his Sacramento office at (916) 319-2043.
What to Say: Use the following script to make a polite and quick phone call.
“Hi, my name is ____________and I’m calling to ask Assemblymember Gatto to pass SB 283.”
[Then explain why you support the bill, using one or more of the points below. Try to put the concepts into your own words rather than reading straight from the page - it sounds more natural and your message will be better received.]
• SB 283 makes our communities safer by preventing hunger among people returning to the community after a felony drug conviction. It would do this by restoring federal food benefits for people with a prior drug felony conviction only when they are playing by the rules and complying with the conditions of probation or parole.
• SB 283 helps promote public safety and has broad support, including County Probation Officers, the California State Association of Counties, the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Project, and over 150 community-based groups.
• SB 283 will bring 3 million dollars in federal funding to California to support the goals of probation and parole.