TANF

Johnnina Ray drives her daughter, 14-year-old Jakayla, home from school.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A new state law taking effect next year will cut an estimated 3,155 Missouri families from one public benefit program, and require thousands more to participate in “work activities” to receive food assistance.

Updated 5 p.m., Wed., May 6 -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had harsh words for the General Assembly’s action to override his veto of a bill that shortens the period for low-income families to receive welfare benefits. The bill also imposes new work requirements.

During a stop in St. Louis, the governor said he didn't object to changing the work requirements. But he did object to the way it was done, which his administration says will result in about 6,500 children getting knocked off the state's welfare rolls.

"You don't move the state forward by taking benefits away from 6,500 kids,'' Nixon said. He explained that there were ways, such as a "protected payee program" that would have penalized the parents, but not the children.

"What did a 5-year-old do wrong?" he asked. "There were a lot of ways where kids didn't have to suffer here."

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

From KCUR, Kansas City - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had harsh words for lawmakers who want to enact lifetime limits on the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Speaking at Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday morning, Nixon called Senate Bill 24 "a misguided measure that punishes poor children in the legislature's zeal to reduce reliance on government assistance."

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Legislation that would reduce lifetime eligibility for most welfare recipients in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

An earlier version of the bill would have cut lifetime eligibility for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, in half, from 5 years to two and 1/2.  But a compromise between the House and Senate reduces that period to 3 years and 9 months.

Flickr | Paul Sableman

The length of time a Missourian could receive welfare benefits would be cut in half, if legislation passed by the Missouri House becomes law.

(via Flickr/clementine gallot)

A new audit released Tuesday finds that some welfare recipients in Missouri have used their benefits to buy things besides food and other daily necessities, while others may have moved away but continue to get in-state benefits.

Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that prohibits welfare recipients from using such funds at liquor stores, casinos or strip clubs.

The legislation also bars recipients from using cash benefits to buy anything marketed for adults while increasing penalties for people who are convicted of spending benefits improperly. The newly signed law brings Missouri into compliance with federal restrictions on purchases using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families electronic cash benefit cards.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House committee heard testimony Monday on efforts to shift state welfare recipients onto federal disability.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation is moving through the Missouri Senate that would strictly limit where Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT cards, can be used in the state.

State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee’s Summit) is sponsoring Senate Bill 251.  He says a new federal law that just took effect will ban EBT card use in casinos, liquor stores and adult entertainment venues.

“We’re taking that federal law (and) putting (it) into state statute," Kraus said.  "But we’re also adding a few places that we think these cards shouldn’t be used at:  amusement parks, entertainment events, athletic events, (or) to purchase alcohol, tobacco (or) lottery tickets.”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Most of the new laws passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year officially took effect over the weekend, on August 28.

They include the controversial ban on late-term abortions that Governor Jay Nixon (D) allowed to become law without his signature.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 5:37 p.m. to reflect implications of other bill signings regarding human trafficking and domestic violence.

According to a press release, Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon has signed 6 bills into law this afternoon.

Here's a roundup of some of the issues addressed by some of the laws, followed by a full list of those signed below:

Drug testing for some welfare recipients (HB 73)

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given final passage to legislation that would require some Missourians on public assistance to undergo drug testing.

Under the bill, work-eligible recipients of the state’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program would lose that assistance for three years if they test positive for drug use or refuse to take a drug test.