Lisa Hamler Fugitt

a photo of a grocery store with a SNAP sign in the window
JONATHAN WEISS / SHUTTERSTOCK

Advocates say three million Americans in 40 states could lose their SNAP or food stamp benefits because of a federal rule change in how eligibility is determined at the state level. That could include tens of thousands of Ohioans. 

The rule change would eliminate the ability of states to automatically enroll people who receive other benefits into SNAP too.

Lisa Hamler Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Food Banks said more than 100,000 Ohioans could be affected.

photo of Lisa Hamler Fugitt
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A new report by a coalition of social service groups says state leaders need to invest in families, Ohio’s seniors and the poorest in the state when they approve the next two-year state budget.

photo of Lisa Hamler Fugitt
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The leader of Ohio’s Association of Foodbanks says funding for foodbanks has traditionally been considered a non-partisan effort. She’s disappointed in the budget passed by the House.

Lisa Hamler Fugitt says the House did the unthinkable and cut foodbank funding by $1 million.

photo of Lisa Hamler-Fugitt
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio lawmakers are trying to agree on how to shore up the fund that pays jobless benefits to unemployed workers. Several advocacy groups say the lame-duck efforts still threaten people during their most vulnerable time.

A laid-off worker would be able to get unemployment checks from 26 weeks to 20 weeks based on a new bill proposed in the House and Senate. That’s up from a previous bill that would have cut the time to 12 weeks.

The bill would also require more businesses to pay more into the fund.

photo of Lisa Hamler Fugitt
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s economy, like the nation’s, has been improving in recent years since the economic downturn in 2008. Many of the jobs that are coming back are not like the ones that were lost during the most recent depression.

Lisa Hamler Fugitt is the head of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. She says many of the jobs that left Ohio paid living wages and provided benefits. But she says a recent federal study shows many of the jobs that are coming back are considered contingent jobs.

photo of Lisa Hamler Fugitt
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Advocates for poor Ohioans are calling on Gov. John Kasich to take action now to get more federal money for food programs. 

The head of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says the state should request a federal waiver that would allow more dollars to flow to agencies that help provide food for Ohio’s poorest citizens. Lisa Hamler-Fugitt says for the past three years, the state hasn’t applied for that help. And she says that means Ohio hasn’t been able to maximize its potential to get food for low-income people.

Dave Yost
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost is going to Congress. Yost will take his concerns about a big federal program to a House committee this week.    

Yost will testify before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Wednesday. He’ll be talking about his limited audit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as the food-stamp program.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state auditor has taken a look at the food stamp program in Ohio and thinks there might be some abuse. 

Auditor Dave Yost looked at several factors in the federal food stamp program:  things like even-dollar transactions, multiple purchases within an hour and other unusual activities. He found signs of potential abuse but says it wasn’t widespread.

“It is a relatively small percentage. The trouble is the program is so big that even a small percentage of problem has a big price tag,” he said.

Barbara Sears
STATE OF OHIO

A controversial bill that would have cut jobless benefits in Ohio is on hold for now. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.

The bill seeks to shore up the fund through which the state pays unemployment benefits before another recession.

It cuts the amount businesses pay into that fund, because its sponsor says they’ve been paying penalties and surcharges into the fund for more than a decade.