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Brownback Signs Bill Tightening Welfare Rules

Sam Brownback

Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a controversial welfare bill on Thursday. It would cut the lifetime limit on cash assistance from 48 months to 36 months.

As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it also says welfare recipients can’t spend the money at places like movie theaters and swimming pools.

Opponents say the bill stigmatizes low-income Kansans and might limit access to needed benefits. It’s also attracted some national attention. Here’s Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

“Sam Brownback trusts the good people of Kansas. But what about the people of Kansas who aren’t good, you know, the poor ones?” says Stewart.

The governor’s administration fired right back at that, saying the bill protects Kansas taxpayers and encourages personal responsibility.

During a state Senate debate, Republican Michael O’Donnell said the legislation is aimed at ending dependence on government assistance and focusing more on work.

“That’s our goal. I think everyone in this room has the same feeling and same dedication to making sure that Kansans have high quality of life, and you don’t have high quality of life if you don’t have a job,” says O’Donnell.

Brownback signed the bill during an event in Topeka.