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If you're a felon and want to receive welfare, you better steer clear of Missouri! Missouri state Senator David Sater (R) released a bill aimed to cut down on the amount of time Missouri residents can receive benefits and it has stipulations that must be met in order to receive food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and violent felons would be excluded from getting any benefits.

Missouri's welfare program currently allows participants to receive benefits for up to 60 months, the bill would cut that down to 24 months. The bill would also require people on TANF to be employed, or actively searching for a job, or be enrolled in a job training program. Senator Sater pointed out that the new provisions in the bill would potentially help decrease the unemployment rates in Missouri. He said, "Our program in Missouri is downright failing. Our work participation rate in this program is only around 17 percent. We are the lowest in the nation. We can certainly do better than that."

Senator Sater brings up a good point, by requiring recipients to look for work in order to receive benefits or be employed the need for welfare would decrease, and it would no longer be a program that breeds laziness. Logan Pike, a representative of a conservative think tank said, "If TANF recipients aren’t working, they aren’t learning the skills that will get them out of poverty. The 'T' in TANF stands for temporary."

Missouri ACLU director of policy, Sarah K. Rossi, doesn't support the bill because she feels that felons shouldn't be excluded. She says "We know that poverty begets desperation, desperation begets crime and crime begets prison. Cutting them off of resources that keep them from reentering that cycle does not limit recidivism."

While Rossi defends criminals and blames poverty for their decision to commit violent felonies, Senator Sater is trying to help incentivize people to become more self-sufficient law-abiding citizens.




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