welfare benefits

A bill to establish charter schools in Alabama was signed into law yesterday by Governor Bentley.

The Alabama Legislature gave its final approval to the bill on Wednesday after several hours of contentious debate in the House of Representatives.

Republicans call the bill a session priority, saying that the schools will spark innovation and provide education choices for families.

Opponents argue the new schools will drain education resources and criticize the potential involvement of for-profit companies in certain school operations.

AP

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill requiring people to apply for three jobs before seeking welfare benefits. The Senate voted 28-1 Thursday to go along with changes the House made in the bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur. The bill applies to applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly called welfare. It not only requires applicants to apply for three jobs, but to keep applying for jobs once they receive benefits. The Senate also gave final approval Thursday to a bill providing new penalties for welfare fraud.

The Associated Press

The Alabama Senate has approved drug testing for some welfare applicants. The Senate voted 24-4 Wednesday to require drug testing for any welfare applicant with a felony or misdemeanor conviction for drug possession or distribution in the last five years. The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Daphne, says the legislation would give people using drugs an incentive to stop. His bill would cut off benefits to the head of a household after three failed drug tests, but others in the household would continue to get benefits. The bill is set to expire in 2017.

arthurorr.com

Two Alabama senators are finding support for bills aimed at toughening the rules for welfare benefits, including requiring drug testing of some welfare applicants.

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee overwhelmingly approved four bills Wednesday that are sponsored by Republican Sens. Trip Pittman of Daphne and Arthur Orr of Decatur.