Food assistance has been a lifeline for Illinois families hammered by the worst recession in decades and its aftermath, but legislation in Springfield is now advancing that would restrict who could actually use LINK cards, the state's electronic food stamp program.
In a largely party line vote, with all Democrats save one voting against and all Republicans voting in favor, legislators passed HB 161 out of the House Human Services Committee yesterday. The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law notes the bill would prevent more than one million people in Illinois from directly using a LINK card; only heads of households accessing foodstamps would be allowed to do so. The 1.8 million residents here currently use foodstamps -- a record high number -- live in 850,000 households, the Shriver center reports. "Other members of the household, including the head of household's spouse, children, parents, and other relatives living in the household, would not be able to go to the store and use the [LINK] card," the Shriver center writes. Stay tuned on this one.