Committee vote on Walker welfare reform bills delayed

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A Wisconsin Assembly Committee has delayed a vote on 10 welfare overhaul bills proposed by Gov. Scott Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed the State of the State is "historically strong" during an address in the assembly chamber of Wisconsin's state capitol building Wednesday.

The Public Benefit Reform Committee expects to make changes to the bills in reaction to public testimony on the proposals this week.

Walker's plan for welfare reform will impact many policies for those on public assistance and includes many changes for food stamp recipients.

Some argue the bills will only make it harder for people to get out of poverty and many organizations have registered in opposition, including the Hunger Task Force.

"These reforms are dramatic changes to the Food Share program and it’s going to hurt the people who are the most vulnerable," said Shelly Fortner, Executive Director for Hunger Task Force of La Crosse.

Fortner says these reforms will only increase hunger and take away some of the safe guards that families in need rely on. Walker’s proposal includes increasing work requirements from 20 to 30 hours a week for able-bodied adults on food stamps and for the first time, requiring parents with school-aged children to adhere to that same requirement.

"The possibility that you're going to have to be working more, going to college at the same time, no time for the family, raising your kids, we need to work with the families not against them," said Fortner.

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