APRIL 14, 1997

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Local News

Welfare reform bill forwarded to governor

welfare reform OLYMPIA--The House of Representatives passed legislation on April 10 to reform Washington's welfare system. Already approved by the Senate, the bill moves to Governor Gary Locke for signing.
   "This new welfare system would empower those in need to become self-sufficient as quickly and as permanently as possible," said 45th District Rep. Kathy Lambert (R-Woodinville).
   The legislation would redefine welfare as temporary assistance, limited to 60 months during a recipient's lifetime. Able adults would be required to search for a job, participate in subsidized or non-subsidized work, or perform community service in return for benefits. Unmarried teens under the age of 18 would be required to attend school and live with their families or in another state-approved adult-supervised setting.
   Legal immigrants who require sponsors and entered the country after Aug. 22, 1996, would be ineligible for assistance for five years. Legal immigrants receiving public assistance prior to Aug. 22, 1996, would be eligible to continue receiving similar benefits.
   "This legislation is a significant shift in the approach to best help those in need. Other states have had tremendous success putting people back to work with similar reforms," said Lambert.