1998 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Smith
Senate Bill 2372
AN ACT TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO REQUEST FEDERAL WAIVERS TO PERMIT FOOD STAMP PURCHASES TO BE LIMITED TO FIVE BASIC FOOD AND/OR PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS, AS DETERMINED BY THE DEPARTMENT; TO AMEND SECTION 97-19-71, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DISQUALIFY ANY PARTICIPANT WHO VIOLATES THIS PROVISION FROM THE FOOD STAMP PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Department of Human Services shall request waivers from the Secretary of the federal Department of Agriculture to permit the application of the food stamp program eligibility and purchasing requirements described in this section. The eligibility and benefit criteria for program participants shall provide that participants shall be allowed to use food stamps to purchase only five (5) basic food and/or personal hygiene items, as determined by regulation of the Department of Human Services. All eligible participants in the food stamp program shall be subject to the limitations of this waiver program. Any food stamp recipient or vendor participating in the food stamp program who violates the provisions of this section shall be suspended from participation in the food stamp program for a period of ten (10) years. This section shall not be implemented unless (i) the federal waivers have been granted, or (ii) the Secretary of the federal Department of Agriculture certifies that federal law permits this state to apply the eligibility and purchasing requirements specified in this section, and (iii) the Secretary of the federal Department of Agriculture certifies that full implementation of this waiver program shall receive federal funding at current participation rates.
SECTION 2. Section 97-19-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-19-71. (1) Any person who knowingly:
(a) Fails, by false statement, misrepresentation, impersonation, or other fraudulent means, to disclose a material fact used in making a determination as to such person's qualification to receive aid or benefits or services under any state or federally funded assistance program; or
(b) Fails to disclose a change in circumstances in order to obtain or continue to receive under any such program aid or benefits or services to which he is not entitled or in an amount larger than that to which he is entitled, or who knowingly aids and abets another person in the commission of any such act; is guilty of fraud.
(2) Any person who knowingly:
(a) Uses, transfers, acquires, traffics, alters, forges or possesses;
(b) Attempts to use, transfer, acquire, traffic, alter, forge or possess; * * *
(c) Aids and abets another person in the use, transfer, acquisition, traffic, alteration, forgery or possession of a food stamp, a food stamp identification card, an authorization for the purchase of food stamps, a certificate of eligibility for medical services, or a Medicaid identification card, for profit or in any manner not authorized by law or regulations issued by the agency responsible for the administration of the state or federally funded program; or
(d) Uses, or aids and abets another person in the use of a food stamp to purchase any item not authorized by law or regulations issued by the agency responsible for the administration of the federal food stamp program;
is guilty of fraud.
(3) Any person having duties in the administration of a state or federally funded assistance program who fraudulently misappropriates, attempts to misappropriate, or aids and abets in the misappropriation of, a food stamp, an authorization for food stamps, a food stamp identification card, a certificate of eligibility for prescribed medicine, a Medicaid identification card, or assistance from any other state or federally funded program with which he has been entrusted or of which he has gained possession by virtue of his position, or who knowingly fails to disclose any such fraudulent activity, is guilty of fraud.
(4) Any person who:
(a) Knowingly files, attempts to file, or aids and abets in the filing of, a claim for services to a recipient of benefits under any state or federally funded assistance program for services which were not rendered; knowingly files a false claim for nonauthorized items or services under such a program; or knowingly bills the recipient of benefits under such a program, or his family, for an amount in excess of that provided for by law or regulations; or
(b) In any way knowingly receives, attempts to receive, or aids and abets in the receipt of unauthorized payment as provided herein;
is guilty of fraud.
(5) Any person who knowingly signs, or aids and abets any person to sign, a false application for the replacement of benefits or aid to which that person is entitled claiming that person's benefits or aid was not received, is guilty of fraud.
(6) Any person convicted of the crime of fraud under this section shall be:
(a) Punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term not exceeding three (3) years, and fined not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00); or
(b) Punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding one (1) year, and fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00); and
(c) Ordered to make full restitution of the money or services or the value of those services unlawfully received; and
(d) Where the legislation creating a program allows, suspended from participation in the program for the length of time allowed by the legislation creating the program.
(7) This section shall not prohibit prosecution under any other criminal statute of this state or the United States.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.