Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL (WCCO) – Republicans are calling it one way to stop welfare fraud: It’s a bill requiring benefit cards for welfare recipients to include Photo ID. It will also double the waiting period from 30 to 60 days before a new resident gets welfare.
The bill’s author, State Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Brainerd), said the evidence is anecdotal, but that people are coming to the state for the more easily obtainable $432 month check.
“We are creating a magnet situation for welfare when we really want this to take care of the people of Minnesota,” said Gazelka. “I do want to try to prevent those coming to Minnesota from getting that benefit automatically that are reserved from Minnesotans.”
Opponents of the bill voiced their concern at the Capitol.
“For someone to say that people are coming here for $432 to live on is ridiculous,” said Debra Howzi with the Welfare Rights Committee. “It can’t happen. It’s not happening. People are living homeless. It is bad out there.”
Actual studies don’t show large migrations, from Chicago to Minneapolis for example, for welfare benefits. There is some evidence of migrant workers in northwest and southwest Minnesota getting seasonal benefits during harvest season.
Republicans want to include the new requirements in their human services funding bill.
There are legal questions about the constitutionality of some waiting limits.