The Buzz

Missouri lawmakers OK stricter welfare rules

A bill reducing how long Missourians can receive federal welfare benefits is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon.

The bill, which passed the Missouri Senate Tuesday and the Missouri House today, lowers the lifetime limit for how long families can stay on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program from five years to three years and nine months. It also imposes sanctions on a family receiving benefits if an adult does not comply with work requirements and requires individuals to be engaged in work activities or looking for a job before getting food stamps.

If the bill becomes law, nearly 9,500 people — 6,300 of which are children — would lose their access to benefits.

Republicans celebrated the bill as a much needed reform that will encourage those living in poverty to find work.

Democrats panned the measure, arguing that those who reach the lifetime limits typically face significant barriers to employment, such as lack of education, unstable housing or mental and physical health problems.

The bill passed both legislative chambers with enough support to override a veto.