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In another stunning legislative maneuver, Michigan Republicans passed a bill last night (attached as an amendment to an appropriations measure) that provides Michigan grocery store clerks may refuse to accept Food Stamps (under the Federal Government's Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program or SNAP as it is more commonly known) for payment of qualifying purchases if they have "moral objections" or believe that accepting food stamps as payment for food is a "matter of conscience."  Furthermore, the clerks may not be fired by or otherwise penalized by their employers for refusing to accept food stamps or other means of federal food assistance such as EBT cards.  The Obama administration has refused to make an announcement regarding the legislation until Governor Snyder signs the Bill into law, which he is expected to do later today.  However, several activist organization have indicated they intend to file lawsuits to overturn the legislation.

A separate bill expected to come to a vote today proposes to remove charitable status from shelters and soup kitchens that provide meals to the homeless, as well as local food banks.  Sponsors of the bill say they believe they have the necessary votes needed to pass the legislation before adjournment.

State Senator Rob D. Poor defended the measure this morning at 4:00 a.m. when contacted at his suite at the East Lansing Marriott Residence Inn.  "Listen," he said, "hard working people should not be required to subsidize lazy, unemployed bums with their tax dollars just because the Federal Government is currently headed by a dedicated Marxist determined to turn this country into a socialist hellhole."  He went on to add that "if people refuse to work they shouldn't expect the rest of us to feed them or their kids with our money.  Where I come from I call that extortion."

When questioned if this wasn't a hardship for the many unemployed and economically stressed individuals in Michigan unable to find work or those who have jobs that don't pay enough to cover food, health care and other necessary expenses, he claimed all that would be resolved by the recent Right to Work law passed by the lame duck Republican controlled legislature.  "Our state will soon be flooded with new jobs, so I don't really see that as an issue.  Anyone who wants to work will be able to find a job, assuming they are willing to work hard and accept the going wage for their labor."  

When questioned about the Congressional Research Service statistics that show "right to work" states have a significant decline in workers' income, and that other studies demonstrate right to work laws have provided no statistically significant increase in job creation, he dismissed the question by saying, "There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics. Why should I accept the word of some lazy communist bureaucrats in Washington or pointy-headed professors at secular liberal colleges.  I know for a fact that once we eliminate the power of unions in this state, which hold back the economic engine of free markets, we will experience a surge in economic growth like Michigan has never before seen in its history."

What should families on food stamps do in the meantime if supermarkets, grocery stores and store clerks refuse to accept their food stamps, he was asked. "Most of these folks have refrigerators, don't they, along with their Cadillacs, 50 inch HDTV's, smartphones and video game players," he responded.  "Well, they can sell some of that crap for real American money and buy their food the old fashioned way.  Better yet let them suck ice cubes.  Most of them are fat slobs anyway, and could afford to lose some weight.  Last I heard ice cubes are a great diet food.  Now watch me drink this martini!  Shaken not stirred!"

Originally posted to Steven D on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:35 AM PST.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project.

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