Two Mississippi state senators have introduced a bill to require people who receive public assistance to perform community service.
The measure was co-authored by Sen Nancy Collins of Tupelo and Sen. John Polk of Hattiesburg.
The bill requires that any able bodied recipient of public assistance, in the form of transfer payments, Medicaid, or housing, would be required to perform a minimum of 20 hours per week of community service to a non-profit organization in Mississippi.
"Public assistance many times can become a dead end and not a temporary condition. By helping others, you help yourself," said Collins. "I know of no better way than to be involved in community service and volunteerism."
"Public assistance is designed for those who are experiencing difficult times of a temporary nature. It is not meant to become a permanent way of life for anyone, said Polk.
The community service could be done at churches, if the participant and church both agree, but it could not be the recipient’s own church under the bill.
For the bill to become law, it would have to pass both the House and Senate, and not be vetoed by the governor.
This and other similar bills face a Mar. 6 deadline for passage through its assigned committee.