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Politics

Maine Bill Would Give Citizens Oversight of Welfare Programs

AUGUSTA, Maine - Citizens would monitor the success and progress of the state-run welfare-to-work program under a democratic lawmaker's bill.

Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Nathan Libby is sponsoring a bill that would create an independent citizens oversight committee.

The committee would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to collect data about topics like employment, income levels, child poverty and food insecurity.

The bill also would require the department to set benchmarks to measure the program's success.

The state requires drug tests for certain welfare recipients with drug convictions who score high on a substance-use screening tool.

Since 2015, only 23 people scored high enough on the screening tool to be subjected to testing.