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Boyd’s state welfare system overhaul bill passes House

Staff Reports • Updated Apr 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM

NASHVILLE – Lawmakers passed a bill, sponsored by state Rep. Clark Boyd, this week that would overhaul Tennessee’s welfare system.

The bill passed by an 88-7 vote tally and would require able-bodied adults who receive cash benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to meet reasonable work requirements to continue to receive benefits. Additionally, the bill would curb instances of fraud, waste and abuse within the current system by allowing Tennessee to partner with surrounding states to ensure there is no double dipping of welfare benefits.

The passage of the bill is the latest in a series of Republican-led efforts, which included a second bill also sponsored by Boyd, designed to implement work requirements on able-bodied citizens who receive assistance from the state.

Boyd, R-Lebanon, said work requirements for entitlement programs encourage self-sufficiency and less dependence on government benefits. In 1996, Congress passed bipartisan welfare reform that requires able-bodied adults to work to receive benefits under both SNAP and TANF. The change resulted in millions of people nationwide moving off government assistance and back into the workforce, according to Boyd.

For the first time in more than a decade, the number of Tennesseans who receive SNAP benefits, formerly called food stamps, dropped to less than 1 million in January, according to Boyd.

“This measure guarantees the program’s integrity and ensures that state resources are managed in the most efficient and effective way possible,” said Boyd. “We want our citizens to have meaningful employment, and we also want to make sure that those who are receiving benefits are doing so in good faith and are not taking advantage of the system.”

The bill currently awaits Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature. 

Boyd serves as a member of the House Insurance and Banking Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer and Human Resources Committee and subcommittee. Boyd represents House District 46, which includes Cannon and part of Wilson and DeKalb counties.

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