- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Scott Walker’s new proposed welfare reforms (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Republican leaders who control the state Assembly are getting behind Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed changes to welfare programs.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants to work with Walker on enacting the proposals released Monday. One thing Walker wants to do is reduce benefits to parents who don’t work at least 80 hours a month or meet other requirements to get trained for a job and apply for work.

Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget committee, and former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, are also backing Walker’s initiatives.

Democrats and advocates for poor children and families are more skeptical. They say they worry the changes will take public benefits away from families who need them the most.


4:35 p.m.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson is getting behind Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s welfare reform plans and he hopes Democrats will as well.

Thompson appeared with Walker at a news conference Monday to tout Walker’s new proposal to require parents to work at least 80 hours a month or risk losing food stamp benefits.

Thompson recalls the reforms he enacted in the 1990s that were designed to move people from welfare to work. He says Walker’s proposal will be effective because welfare recipients want to work.

Thompson says Walker’s proposal presents an opportunity for bipartisan support.

But Democrats have been speaking out against extending the state’s food stamp work requirement from adults without children to parents. Democrats say it will hurt struggling poor families more than help them.


1:45 p.m.

The state chamber of commerce is praising Gov. Scott Walker’s welfare reform proposal that would penalize low-income parents who don’t work more than 80 hours a month.

But the Democratic leader of the Wisconsin state Senate says the measure shows Walker has a double standard. Senate Minority Leader Jen Shilling says Walker is creating one set of rules for working families while giving millions in tax breaks to the wealthy.

Walker is calling for partially taking away food stamp benefits from parents with children between the ages of 6 and 18 if they don’t meet certain work requirements.

Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce lobbyist Scott Manley praises the idea, saying it will be an incentive for people to work. Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald calls it a good start on welfare reform.


10:20 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker wants to require more people receiving public welfare benefits to be working or searching for work.

Walker announced Monday that is intends to propose new work requirements on able-bodied adults with school-age children who are receiving food stamps through the FoodShare program. He is also calling for imposing work requirements on able-bodied adults receiving housing assistance.

Walker says the requirements would be similar to current state law requiring childless adults receiving food stamps who don’t work 80 hours a month to participate in job training.

Walker says the new proposals would be started as a pilot. Walker’s office says any sanctions for non-compliance would affect only the adult’s portion of the benefit.

More details were to come in his budget next month.


9:26 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker is releasing a welfare reform package that he says builds upon work done in the 1990s by former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Walker tweeted Monday that the initiative he was announcing will be called “Wisconsin Works for Everyone.” He was to reveal details of the proposal at a series of news conferences around the state.

Thompson was to join Walker for the last stop in the Capitol late Monday afternoon.

Walker promised in his State of the State speech earlier this month to be a national leader in welfare reform, just as Thompson was in the 1990s.

Walker in December wrote to then president-elect Donald Trump asking for more state control over welfare programs, including allowing Wisconsin to require drug tests for some people receiving food stamps.

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