Tuesday, flanked by members of the House Republican caucus, House GOP Leader Rep. Ken Fredette of Newport was pleased to announce he will be sponsoring the welfare Reform for Increased Security and Employment Act (RISE Act) put forward by Governor Paul LePage.
The bill codifies many of the most successful welfare reforms implemented by the LePage Administration. Among the reforms that would be codified as a result of the RISE Act:
- Require able-bodied adults to work or be enrolled in an approved vocational training program 20 hours per week or volunteer as little as one hour a day to receive assistance
- Place photographs on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards
- Ban repeat felony drug offenders from receiving food assistance
- Disqualify lottery and gambling winners of $5,000 or more from receiving food assistance
“One of the most important things we can do for our economy is to get Mainers back to work by transforming our welfare system from a hand out to a hand up,” said Rep. Fredette. “The RISE Act simply codifies into law some of the things the Administration has already been doing for years—things that have already demonstrated amazing success. In 2014 there were over 15,000 able-bodied, working-age adults without dependents on food stamps in Maine. Since Governor LePage started requiring that they either work, go to school, or volunteer in their communities, that number has dropped to 1,700—an astonishing 88 percent drop in welfare dependency.”