Florida welfare recipients could face tougher sanctions

- People who receive cash assistance from the Florida government and fail to comply with work requirements could be left without money for a longer time.

A House panel on Thursday advanced a bill (HB 23) that would toughen sanctions for individuals who do not work toward furthering their education or careers while in the program. The vote came over the objections of Democrats, who said it would leave more families hungry and would make it harder for people to get back on their feet.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Dane Eagle, challenged those claims, saying the bill is aimed to stop fraud and the "downward spiral of handouts."

Eagle says the average welfare recipient gets $250 a month. If the bill becomes law, the state would save $2.5 million every year.

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