New bill would require community service for welfare recipients - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

New bill would require community service for welfare recipients

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

An Alabama lawmaker wants to require some people getting government benefits to give back by volunteering. Some say it's an attack on the poor; others say it is a way to help poor communities.

State Senator Bryan Taylor introduced this bill. He says opponents call it a form of punishment, but Taylor says it would simply allow people to give back to their community in exchange for government benefits.

Taylor says the bill will apply to people on government assistance who are unemployed and not looking for work. The bill would require 20 hours of community service a week. People who do not complete the community service would lose their government benefits for up to a year. It would not apply to people who are disabled.

Taylor says his bill has gotten the attention of people who run the welfare and food stamp programs.

"We're working with them to see if we can craft this to make sure we're targeting chronic takers. People who year-after-year, continuously receive taxpayer funded benefits," said Taylor.

"It doesn't have an exception there for people taking care of sick family members, taking care of family members. No exception for people taking care of children in a state without adequate affordable child care," said Scott Douglas, the Executive Director of Greater Birmingham Ministries.

Douglas says the bill is immoral and not practical. He sees it as a form of punishment for people who are on government assistance.

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