Need Welfare? Michigan May Make People Do Community Service to Qualify

The community service bill, which passed the state Senate on a 27-9 vote would require people receiving food stamps or other welfare benefits to perform community service in order to get the money.
September 19, 2013
 

State lawmakers passed bills Wednesday that would deny unemployment benefits to people who refuse to take drug tests required by employers.

It also would require community service for people receiving government assistance.

The drug testing bill, which passed the House Commerce Committee on a 12-4 vote with three Democrats passing on the issue, would deny unemployment benefits for people who either refused to take a drug test required by an employer or tested positive.

The community service bill, which passed the state Senate on a 27-9 vote would require people receiving food stamps or other welfare benefits to perform community service in order to get the money.

Republicans called the bills common sense.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with requiring folks to have a little skin in the game,” said state Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg Township. “All they have to do is a little community service to get their benefits.”

But Democrats said the measures target low-income people for merely political purposes leading into the 2014 election season. The bills continue a trend that began earlier this year with proposed legislation that targets benefit recipients for suspicion-based drug testing and allows for the denial of benefits if a child is truant from school. Those bills have passed the House and await action in the Senate.

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