Lawmakers looking to help laid-off workers

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Lawmakers are considering ways to help Kansans in need of temporary financial assistance. Following the recent layoffs from Spirit AeroSystems, two proposed bills would provide assistance to laid-off workers.

The first bill would give the Secretary of the Department for Children and Families the ability to request a waiver from the Federal Government for food assistance programs. The waiver would temporarily allow able-bodied adults to receive food assistance, if it can be proven that there is a lack of employment opportunities in a specified community or area.

The second bill would add a new option for single parents of children 3 months to one year old to receive cash assistance. The parent could opt to do temporary, in-home parenting classes instead of working.

Supporters of the bills say, given the uncertainty of the Spirit layoffs, they want to be ready to help if necessary.

“We want to be pre-prepared for some of that that we can take action on, and those folks that are impacted by this unemployment can take benefit from some of these programs,” said Senator Gene Suellentrop, (R) Wichita.

Both bill would apply to anyone that qualifies for unemployment benefits, not just the laid-off Spirit workers.

The bills were discussed at the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee meeting on Monday. No one spoke in opposition of either bill.

A vote on whether to send the bills to the Senate floor for a debate will come later this week. 

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