Sen. Taylor proposes new bill

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bill would require public benefits recipients to do community service

On Tuesday, Sen. Bryan Taylor introduced SB87 to the Committee for Children, Youth Affairs, and Human Resources that would require able-bodied, unemployed recipients of public benefits over the age of 18 to work a mandatory minimum of 20 hours of community service per week.

In order to accommodate the new law, the Alabama Department of Human Resources would establish a list of nonprofit programs that are eligible for community service work required by the proposed law. Any volunteer service at a public or private school would qualify for the mandatory community service, but volunteer work at a church where the recipient is a member would not meet the requirement.

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If the public benefit recipient did not meet the mandatory 20 hours of community service, he would lose benefits for 90 days following the first noncompliance. The second noncompliance would result in a loss of benefits for 180 days. A third and any subsequent noncompliance would result in the loss of benefits for a year.

Sen. Taylor stressed that the bill was intended to target Welfare and Food Stamp recipients.

Sen. Taylor also said the bill’s required hours would not apply to people who are currently receiving unemployment or actively seeking a job or work training.

The Committee for Children, Youth Affairs, and Human Resources delayed the vote on the bill for the time being. Sen. Taylor did not oppose the committee’s decision to delay the vote and indicated he would work on strengthening the bill’s language.

Sen. Taylor also had two bills, SB85 and SB86, approved by the Senate’s Committee for Veterans and Military Affairs.

SB86 would allow military members on active deployment an additional 30 days to renew their motor vehicle registration from the date their deployment ends without incurring a $15 late fee.

SB85 would restore scholarship benefits to the spouses and dependents of veterans. Under current law, scholarship benefits are only given to the spouses and dependents of veterans who served during “wartime or extra hazardous conditions.”

Prior to 2011, scholarships benefits had been granted to the spouses and dependents of any veteran based on any service. SB 85 would remove the “wartime or extra hazardous conditions” requirement from law and would apply retroactively to 2011.