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During committee debate on a bill that would require those receiving public assistance to work 20 hours or more per week, or participate in a work program 20 hours per week, or volunteer 20 hours or more per week, or meet any combination of working and participating in a work program for 20 hours, Sen. Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig) referred to public support he has seen for such a measure.

Schultz said at least 70 percent of Iowans agree that those receiving public benefits, if able-bodied and not meeting any of the exceptions, should either be working, receiving training or volunteering in an effort to contribute to the community.

“It seems to be an overwhelmingly supportive subject that Iowans are OK helping those who are in need,” Schultz said. “But everybody has stories in which it at least appears that somebody is able to work but decided not to.”

Later in the debate, Sen. Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) diminished the importance of public polls.

“As senators, we know more than what they know,” Dotzler said.

Schultz addressed that statement in his final remarks on the bill.

“I don’t think Senators know more than the people of Iowa,” he said. “I think the people of Iowa know what kind of state they want to work in and it is not for Senators to tell them that they don’t know what they’re talking about when they expect their neighbors to go to work, just as they do.”

Author: Jacob Hall