SALT LAKE CITY — People who receive certain forms of public assistance would be required to undergo at least two hours of self-reliance training under a bill endorsed Thursday by a legislative committee.
SB153, sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, received unanimous support of the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee. The bill has passed in the Senate and moves to the House for its consideration.
Fillmore said the primary goal of the legislation is to invest in the personal capacity of people so they can improve their lives.
“This is an investment we're making in a person and a family that is more valuable than food, or money or temporary help,” he said.
Recipients of certain programs, such as cash assistance, would be required to complete the training within 90 days of receiving the benefits.
Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, said he supports the measure “1,000 percent. It’s time we look at programs that get people moving upward. Give them a hand up rather than a handout.”
The legislation would require the Department of Workforce Services, which administers public assistance programs, to seek a federal waiver if the self-reliance training is not permitted under federal law.
SB153 allows community organizations to provide the approved self-reliance training.
Josh Daniels of the Libertas Institute spoke in favor of the bill, particularly language that permits community groups to offer training because clients may be able to plug into other resources offered by those nongovernment organizations.
“We think this is a great bill. It marries existing government resources with community resources,” he said.