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USDA/FNS RIN: 0584-AD88 Publication ID: Fall 2009 
Title: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Farm Bill of 2008 Retailer Sanctions 
Abstract: This proposed rule would implement provisions under Section 4132 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also referred to as the Farm Bill of 2008. Under Section 4132, the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is provided with greater authority and flexibility when sanctioning retail or wholesale food stores that violate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules. Specifically, the Department is authorized to assess a civil penalty and to disqualify a retail or wholesale food store authorized to participate in SNAP. Previously, the Department could assess a civil penalty or disqualification, but not both. Section 4132 also eliminates the minimum disqualification period which was previously set at six months. In addition to implementing statutory provisions, this rule proposes to provide a clear administrative penalty when an authorized retailer or wholesale food store redeems a SNAP participant's Program benefits without the knowledge of the participant. All Program benefits are issued through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The EBT system establishes data that may be used to identify fraud committed by retail food stores. While stealing Program benefits could be prosecuted under current statute, Program regulations do not provide a clear penalty for these thefts. The proposed rule would establish an administrative penalty for such thefts equivalent to the penalty for trafficking in Program benefits, which is the permanent disqualification of a retailer or wholesale food store from SNAP participation. Finally, the Department proposes to identify additional administrative retail violations and the associated sanction that would be imposed against the retail food store for committing the violation. For instance, to maintain integrity, FNS requires retail and wholesale food stores to key enter EBT card data in the presence of the actual EBT card. The proposed rule would codify this requirement and identify the specific sanction that would be imposed if retail food stores are found to be in violation. (08-007) 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 276 
Legal Authority: PL 110-246 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: This proposed rule would implement provisions under Section 4132 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also referred to as the Farm Bill of 2008. Under Section 4132, the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is provided with greater authority and flexibility when sanctioning retail or wholesale food stores that violate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules. Specifically, the Department is authorized to assess a civil penalty and to disqualify a retail or wholesale food store authorized to participate in SNAP. Previously, the Department could assess a civil penalty or disqualification, but not both. Section 4132 also eliminates the minimum disqualification period which was previously set at six months. In addition to implementing statutory provisions, this rule proposes to provide a clear administrative penalty when an authorized retailer or wholesale food store redeems a SNAP participant's Program benefits without the knowledge of the participant. All Program benefits are issued through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The EBT system establishes data that may be used to identify fraud committed by retail food stores. While stealing Program benefits could be prosecuted under current statute, Program regulations do not provide a clear penalty for these thefts. The proposed rule would establish an administrative penalty for such thefts equivalent to the penalty for trafficking in Program benefits, which is the permanent disqualification of a retailer or wholesale food store from SNAP participation. Finally, the Department proposes to identify additional administrative retail violations and the associated sanction that would be imposed against the retail food store for committing the violation. For instance, to maintain integrity, FNS requires retail and wholesale food stores to key enter EBT card data in the presence of the actual EBT card. The proposed rule would codify this requirement and identify the specific sanction that would be imposed if retail food stores are found to be in violation.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Section 4132, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-246).

Alternatives: Not applicable.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Anticipated costs are undetermined at this time until more research is conducted.

Risks: Not applicable.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  06/00/2010   
Additional Information: Note: This RIN replaces the previously issued RIN 0584-AD78.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
James F Herbert
Regulatory Review Specialist
Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service
3101 Park Center Drive,
Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone:703 305-2572
Email: james.herbert@fns.usda.gov

 
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