Kansas is about to pass a law that will restrict how recipients of welfare can spend their state assistance.
The bill will limit people to 36 months of welfare benefits, ban repeat drug offenders from food assistance for life, will limit daily ATM withdrawals to just $25 per say and will enact a range of other restrictions.
Kansas legislators and advocates for the poor see the new legislation as an attempt to shame and degrade those whose lives are already difficult.
RT reports: Both chambers of the Republican-dominated state legislature have approved House Bill 2258. Republican Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign the bill into law this week. If signed, the law would go into effect on July 1.
“The governor believes strongly that employment is the most effective path out of poverty and he is supportive of work requirements that help people become self-sufficient,” Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said in a statement Friday, adding that the governor will review the law carefully before signing.
Items or venues on which welfare recipients could not spend government assistance include tobacco, alcohol, gambling, theme parks, movie theaters, dog or horse racing facilities, sexually-oriented businesses, nail salons, spas, cruise ships, arcades, visits to psychics, massages, piercings, among other entertainment outlets and allegedly non-essential needs.
State Republicans insist the tough rules in the bill will encourage those receiving state assistance to find jobs.
“We’re trying to make sure those benefits are used the way they were intended,” State Sen. Michael O’Donnell, vice chairman of the state Senate’s committee on public health and welfare, told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “This is about prosperity. This is about having a great life.”
The bill requires able-bodied adults receiving temporary cash assistance to work, to be looking for employment, or to enroll in a job training program.
The legislation is chock full of rules for assistance recipients, including a $25 cap on daily ATM withdrawals designed to prohibit converting benefits for cash and thus being spent on items deemed improper.