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Mo. department backing down on welfare contract

Legislators and Gov. Nixon are sparing over bills reforming voter identification and workplace discrimination.
Legislators and Gov. Nixon are sparing over bills reforming voter identification and workplace discrimination.

The Missouri Department of Social Services has announced it will scale back on its participation in a contract to move welfare recipients onto federal disability. Republicans at a House committee hearing this week expressed concerns that shifting recipients from a state-run program that requires employment to a federal one that does not, could leave them permanently trapped in poverty. 

DSS officials now say the program will only focus on Medicaid recipients who are seriously disabled, and will NOT include foster children or welfare recipients able to work.  House Speaker Tim Jones praised the move:

“There are calls on both sides of the aisle that we have to get control and have to rein in the massive amount of inappropriate spending in welfare entitlement programs," said Jones.

State welfare recipients who move to federal disability may qualify for the federal Medicare program.  DSS officials testified this week that their contract with Boston-based Public Consulting Group could save the state 28 million dollars a year.

Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.