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KS Gov. signs new laws for welfare program - KOAM TV 7

KS Gov. signs new laws for welfare program

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New rules will soon be in place for welfare recipients in Kansas.  Governor Sam Brownback signed the legislation into law this morning.  Both supporters and opponents of the new law say it is controversial.

The new law includes many new rules.  Some of those rules are attracting substantial opposition.  Some are asking, does it do more harm than good?

"I hope we don't lose track of the primary focus of what we're after here," says Governor Sam Brownback.

The Governor hopes the law makes welfare less appealing.

"The primary  focus of the bill is to get people back to work," says Governor Brownback.

But critics of the new law say it's dangerous.

"I think the legislation contains harmful provisions that will make it much more difficult to be a poor family in Kansas," says Shanon Cotsoradis with the non-profit Kansas Action for Children.

Cotsoradis  says there would be less federal and state funds available to promote the state's food stamp program.

"Which means that families are less likely to know that they're eligible for supplemental nutrition assistance, which helps them feed their family," says Cotsoradis.

Knowing that the state's welfare system helps is important to people like Cassandra Short, who has been on and off welfare for about a year.

"It helps our kids eat.  It helps our kids go see the doctor when they need to," says Short.

One other new requirement concerns child care assistance.  To the get assistance, two-parent households must have no more than one vehicle.

"If there's two parents in the home, each parent has to have a car to get back and forth to work every day.  To only have one vehicle, we did that for years, and it's really, really hard," says Short.

And that seems to lead to a major point.  Some say having it hard under welfare promotes getting out of welfare.

"I mean, you have three or four generations living on welfare.  And that's not right.  That's just like guys on disability who are working every day," says Pittsburg resident Merle Markley.

But short, who says she's just about to exit the welfare system, says the state should concentrate less on reforming welfare and more on attracting new industries with jobs.

One other new rule says people can be in the welfare system for only 36 months during their lifetime.  The maximum federal limit is 60 months.  

The new welfare rules take effect July first.

Click here for more information.

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