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Gov. Walker calls for special session on Wisconsin welfare overhaul package

Legislation implements tougher work requirements
Posted at 10:41 AM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 12:14:59-05

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker is calling on the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a welfare overhaul package this year that includes tougher work requirements, additional drug testing and a new photo identification requirement for food stamp recipients.

Walker unveiled the proposals Thursday, including a call for a special session to address the issue. They are backed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Sen. Chris Kapenga.

Many of the proposals have been discussed or proposed for years and several would require federal approval before they could be implemented.

Walker says the measures would make it easier for people on public assistance to get a job. Opponents have argued that work requirements and drug tests are counter-productive and make it more difficult for people to get off welfare.

The measures would increase the work requirement for FoodShare recipients from 20 hours per week to 30 hours per week. 

Participants would also be required to pass a drug test, with treatment provided for those who fail, according to a news release issued by Walker's office Thursday. 

Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling issued the following statement in response:

"For the third week in row, Gov. Walker is throwing policies out to see what sticks. After Tuesday's results, he's clearly trying to fire up his base. It's sad and desperate that he thinks the best way to win re-election is to go after struggling families who are trying to get ahead. This is not the issue impacting families across Wisconsin and this is not the issue families want fixed."