Harrisburg, June 6, 2018 − Legislation sponsored by Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) and Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) that would increase penalties against merchants or vendors who exploit the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by trafficking SNAP cards was approved by the Senate today.

Senate Bill 1127, which Schwank introduced in March, was approved by the upper chamber, 49-0.

“We’ve talked and talked about welfare fraud, and this a chance for us to actually do something about it,” Schwank said.

The bill will make SNAP Trafficking a second degree felony, and will distinguish a merchant trafficker from a recipient.

“It will give police departments around the commonwealth, and the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General, a meaningful way to combat SNAP trafficking,” she said. “It’s going to ensure that benefits are going to those who need them the most.”

The bill moves to the House now for consideration.