• Mass. Senate to debate plan to reform welfare


    BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate is set to take up a welfare reform plan drawn up by Democratic leaders.

    The bill scheduled for debate on Thursday would require that able-bodied people demonstrate they have tried to find work before they can become eligible for public benefits.

    The proposal unveiled on Monday by Senate President Therese Murray also calls for steps to reduce welfare fraud, including a requirement that photo IDs be put on electronic benefit transfer cards used by welfare recipients.

    About $22 million in new state spending would be required to implement the bill, but supporters say the costs could be offset if more people go off welfare and there's less abuse of the system.

    Senate Republicans have praised the bill but plan to offer amendments aimed at strengthening it.

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