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Senate proscribes expiration date on welfare

May 01, 1996

By: EMILY GOODIN
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - An attempt by the Missouri Senate to put an expiration date on the state's welfare system will be stopped in the House, according to Rep. Francis Overshmidt, the bill's House sponsor.

Overshmidt, D-Union, said he'll shelve the legislation if the amendment isn't taken off in conference committee.

"It's going to strip (welfare)," he said. "It's going to end everything."

The Senate passed the amendment Tuesday providing for the end of the welfare system by the year 2000. It can be saved if the General Assembly passes legislation by specific dates provided for in the amendment.

Sen. Steve Ehlmann, R-St. Charles County, attached the amendment to a relatively minor House bill that would exempt pre-need funeral contracts from counting against the limit on assets for welfare eligibility.

"I started off with a simple bill, but now I have the biggest welfare reform program in the legislature," Overshmidt said.

"It's a sunset amendment," Ehlmann said. "If we don't renew by a certain date, then the program lapses."

The amendment calls for the end of the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training program by 1997. WIC, Food Stamps, general relief, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children would end in 1998. Child care and block grants authorized by the federal Social Security Act would end by 1999.

"It's the only way to make the legislature look at welfare reform," Ehlmann said.

The House is expected to take up the legislation next week. Overshmidt said he would ask for the legislation to go to conference committee.