Do-Si-Do

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Lauren Johnson takes another spin in the legislative process and learns these dangerous moves can knock you down – but you have to keep getting up and try again! It often feels like one step forward, two steps back, lather, rinse, repeat. This past year I’ve been working behind the scenes, and it’s been more than a little frustrating. The day after I went to the Capitol to testify about bills that were filed – that would’ve changed the struggle for those who come behind me on this journey – I woke up to an Internet headline that read, “Texas House passes bill on drug testing for welfare benefits”. That took the wind out of my sails. I was exhilarated the night before. I thought we’d been making progress, changing the perspective of the system and people! I was crestfallen. I used to think, people have to pass drug tests every day to get … Continue reading

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Food Stamps for Drug Felons

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In previous posts titled “Visions” and “The New Jim Crow”, I spoke a little about some of the things that inspired me into action. I thought that it was time to follow that up with an update! For those of you just tuning in let me bring you up to speed. In 1996, welfare reform was a great political platform. A bill passed through the Senate permanently banning anyone with a felony drug conviction from ever receiving benefits from the food stamp program. While it is easy to see the good intentions behind this law, it is an extremely flawed policy. In fact, 39 out of 50 states have opted out of it but Texas has not. Texas has the 2nd highest rate of incarceration in the world and a large percentage of those who have records are in some way drug related. People have the capacity for change. Why … Continue reading