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 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.