State senator to HSD: Rethink proposed food stamp changes

A Democratic state senator is urging the state Human Services Department to change its proposed work rules for federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients. In a letter to HSD Secretary Brent Earnest, state Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, urges the state to change course on toughening requirements to qualify for SNAP, better known as food stamps. Earlier this month, HSD proposed to add a requirement of 80 hours of community service for SNAP recipients without jobs and aged 16-60 with children older than 6 years old. HSD has said that the proposed changes would put SNAP work requirements in New Mexico back to what they were before the recession. But the proposals have sparked plenty of backlash from community groups, including the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops.