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News >  Idaho

Welfare Changes Likely To Get Batt Ok Council’s Plan Emphasizes Work, Temporary Nature Of Aid

Gov. Phil Batt is likely to endorse most of a sweeping welfare reform plan when it’s presented to him Tuesday.

Batt’s Welfare Reform Advisory Council, which held extensive public hearings around the state, will formally present its 44-point plan for remaking welfare to Batt.

The governor, at a news conference in his office, is expected to signal how much of the plan he wants to see enacted.

Batt spokeswoman Amy Kleiner said the governor has only limited concerns about a few of the provisions. “You’ll probably see that he’ll be supporting the package almost entirely.”

The plan focuses on turning welfare into a temporary program that pushes people to work.

Many of the sweeping changes, from limiting benefits to two years to requiring all recipients to work or learn basic job skills, can be made without passing new laws.

However, Batt still will consult lawmakers on the program, and some legislation will be required. State lawmakers also review all agency rules, so they’ll be able to oversee the changes even if they don’t involve new laws.

“He would feel pretty comfortable in making the changes because the proposals have had a pretty good public airing,” said Kleiner. “People who are opposed to them have had ample opportunity to come forward.”

State welfare administrator Judy Brooks said there may be some advantage in going with rules rather than laws, to make sure the state can comply with whatever new rules come from Congress on welfare later in the year.

So far, congressional welfare reform programs match up well with Idaho’s plans. “We think it’s real compatible,” Brooks said.

Batt plans to meet with lawmakers to discuss the plan Dec. 12, and he may travel around the state to talk with citizens about it later this month, Kleiner said.

If enacted, the welfare plan would take effect on or before Jan. 1, 1997. , DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WELFARE REFORM HIGHLIGHTS Cash benefits would be limited to two years, including payments in other states. Child-care and health benefits could continue for 12 months after that. Idaho would have a one-size-fits-all maximum monthly cash grant, with no additional payments for additional children. Unmarried teen parents would have to live with their own parents to receive benefits, and the whole family would have to be eligible for welfare. Grandparents on both sides would be financially responsible for their minor children’s babies. All recipients would have to work or learn basic job skills, including new mothers 12 weeks after giving birth. Child care would be provided. Welfare mothers would have to name the father to receive benefits. Parents who don’t comply with child-support or visitation orders would face additional penalties.

This sidebar appeared with the story: WELFARE REFORM HIGHLIGHTS Cash benefits would be limited to two years, including payments in other states. Child-care and health benefits could continue for 12 months after that. Idaho would have a one-size-fits-all maximum monthly cash grant, with no additional payments for additional children. Unmarried teen parents would have to live with their own parents to receive benefits, and the whole family would have to be eligible for welfare. Grandparents on both sides would be financially responsible for their minor children’s babies. All recipients would have to work or learn basic job skills, including new mothers 12 weeks after giving birth. Child care would be provided. Welfare mothers would have to name the father to receive benefits. Parents who don’t comply with child-support or visitation orders would face additional penalties.

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