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News & Press: Legislative

Walker Signs Welfare, Opioid Bills

Wednesday, April 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sarah Bass
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From Forbes McIntosh, Government Policy Solutions, WALA Lobbyist


Gov. Scott Walker last week signed into law a package of bills revising the state's welfare programs. 

  • Increase FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program work requirements from 20 hours per week to 30 hours per week.
  • Make new requirements for FoodShare and Wisconsin Shares participants - including requiring all able-bodied adults receiving FoodShare to participate in the FSET employment training program - with exceptions for at least half-time students and parents with children younger than 6, among other exceptions.
  • Impose asset limits for eligibility to receive public assistance.
  • Require public housing authorities to screen residents to determine whether they are able-bodied and either unemployed or underemployment.
  • Create programs to make periodic - instead of one-time - payments for the state earned income tax credit.
  • Create a performance-based payment system for FoodShare Employment and Training program vendors.
  • Allow the state to contract with private service providers to provide innovative social, employment or correctional services.
  • Require child support compliance for Medical Assistance recipients.
  • Require the creation of a savings account program for Medical Assistance recipients, similar to a health savings account. Participants would be required to add a certain amount of money into the account each month - up to $50.
The 10th bill in the package - which would require photo IDs for FoodShare recipients - did not pass this session.

In addition, Gov. Walker signed into law two bills targeting the state's opioid epidemic. 

Assembly Bill 906 concerns substance abuse prevention, prosecution and treatment and creates or funds several grant programs related to those issues. 

Assembly Bill 907 requires certain health care providers authorized to prescribe controlled substances to undergo continuing education on controlled substance best practices; requires school boards to include drug abuse awareness and prevention in its health curriculum; makes numerous changes relating to substance abuse counseling; requires Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to appoint a behavioral health review committee to advise DSPS on behavioral health issues; allocates $250,000 for UW System to increase the number of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students and expand instruction opportunities for those students; and requires the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to review its prior authorization policy on buprenorphine-containing products provided to Medical Assistance recipients. 

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