Politics & Government

Kansas Senate debates welfare rules, help for poor mothers

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The Republican-dominated Kansas Senate has rejected a Democratic proposal aimed at helping poor mothers of newborns as it debates tightening the state’s welfare rules.

The GOP-backed bill senators were debating Thursday would decrease the state’s lifetime limit on cash benefits to 24 months from 36 months and require the state to look for lottery winners among welfare recipients. Senators expect to vote on the bill Thursday evening.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka offered an amendment to exempt mothers of newborns who receive cash benefits from a work requirement for a year instead of the current two months. It failed on a voice vote.

Hensley said his plan would help new mothers. Republicans said welfare recipients would receive more time off work than women with private-sector jobs receive.