BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts Senate is debating a welfare reform plan that seeks to move more people off public benefits and into jobs, while reducing fraud and abuse in the system.
The bill unveiled by Democratic leaders earlier this week would require people seeking welfare benefits to first seek employment, and would offer state assistance in the job search.
Sen. Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat and one of the bill's authors, said at the outset of Thursday's debate that going on public assistance should never be an individual's "first default choice."
Among the steps aimed at reducing fraud would be a requirement that photo IDs be put on electronic benefit transfer cards used by welfare recipients.
Senate Republicans have praised the bill but plan to offer amendments aimed at strengthening it.