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Walker proposes Wisconsin welfare overhaul package

Gov. Scott Walker delivers his annual State of the State address Jan. 10, 2017, at the state Capitol in Madison. (WLUK image)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- Trying to get more people back into the workforce, Gov. Walker is calling for a special session.

"We believe public assistance should be more like a trampoline, and less like hammock," he explained Thursday, at a stop in Appleton.

Walker says the session is in hopes of passing several new requirements for those receiving public assistance, "More importantly helping those individuals who are capable of working."

Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), and Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) authored the bills lawmakers will consider.

The proposals include:

  • New drug testing for people receiving public housing.
  • A photo ID requirement for those on FoodShare.
  • FoodShare recipients meet work requirements, or participate in a job training program.
  • A minimum of 30 hours a week.

The change would also affect people with school-aged children.

"We have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs, and those job employers are begging us to please do something," explained Kepenga.

Chair of the State Democratic Party, Martha Laning says the timing of Thursday's announcement is no coincidence, "I think the special education results on Tuesday, really shook up Governor Walker."

Laning says the proposals will hurt those who are just trying to make ends meet, "Walker has absolute no problem handing out millions of dollars to foreign companies like Foxconn, or giving tax breaks to those who are doing well, but then flips over, and wants to attack those who are down on their luck."

But the Governor says the proposals will get people the help they need, "We know if people are healthy, and they have basic job skills, we cannot just get them a job, but a career in the state."

The bills are expected to be introduced next week.

But even if they are approved, Walker says several of the changes would also require federal approval, before they could take effect.

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