State Representative Janel
As you may already be
aware, Governor Walker has called a special session of
the Legislature to address Wisconsin's public benefits
programs. There are ten special session bills that have
been sent to the Assembly Committee on Public Benefit
Reform, of which I am a member. Wednesday, the ten bills
were given a joint hearing with the Senate Committee on
Public Benefits, Licensing & State-Federal Relations and
the Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform.
The special session bills
represent changes in the way we administer benefits to
those who need assistance, along with modifications on
work requirements, job training, means testing, and photo
ID. The bills are designed to promote personal
responsibly, limit fraud, and reduce waste. Below is a
very short summary of the bills, with links to the full
January 2018 Special
Assembly Bill 1- Current
law requires able-bodied adults without children to work
20 hours per week. This bill would require them to work 30 hours
Assembly Bill 2 - Would include able-bodied adults
without children under the age of six in AB 1.
Assembly Bill 3 - Would modify financial eligibility
requirements for recipients of FoodShare, Wisconsin
Works, and Wisconsin Shares.
Assembly Bill 4 - Would establish employment
screening and plans for residents in public housing.
Assembly Bill 5 - Would modify the way the Earned
Income Tax Credit would be paid over the course of the
Assembly Bill 6 - Modifies performance based bonuses
to contractors that administer Wisconsin Works,
FoodShare, and training programs.
Assembly Bill 7 - Establishes a "pay for success"
trust fund. Authorizes the state to enter into contracts
with providers of social, employment, or correctional
programs that include performance incentives.
Assembly Bill 8 - Current law requires recipients of
public benefits to cooperate in establishing paternity
of a child. This bill expands that to also cooperating
in child support enforcement and requires those who pay
child support to be current in their payments.
Assembly Bill 9 - Requests a waiver from the federal
government to establish a Health Savings Account program
for the Medical Assistance program.
Assembly Bill 10 - Would require a photo ID for the
All of these bills were
heard in the joint committee on Wednesday of this week.
The bill authors and committee members will work on
amending the bills and we should have the final product
early next week. I believe that these bills represent
improvements to our current welfare system. We
will need to see the final versions before moving
Helping people to achieve their dreams is
the most compassionate thing we can do.