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Legislators Expected to Take Up Health Care, Welfare Issues


LANSING (WKZO) -- The Michigan Legislature was set to resume session Wednesday after a two-month summer break and lawmakers were expected to take up a couple of controversial issues right out of the gate.  

A proposal to require teachers and some public employees to pay more for their healthcare is ready for a vote.

The Senate is also expected to vote on a house bill that would impose a lifetime cap on welfare cash assistance at four years.

Speaker Jace Bolger says 48-months is enough, and getting people into jobs will eliminate the need for cash assistance programs.

They say most other states have a similar cap, although they concede that those other states are in better economic shape than Michigan. 

With less than six weeks to go before thousands of Michigan families could lose their state cash assistance, some advocates say too little information has been given to caseworkers, nonprofits, charities, and community leaders about the impact of the upcoming changes.

Judy Putnam with the Michigan League for Human Services  believes no one has a clear answer regarding how these cut offs will work. She fears that families with children will suddenly have no ability to pay their rent just a month or so after the school year starts.

Putnam hopes that the state either provides more clarification, or postpones implementing its new welfare caps.