Thomas Sowell once wrote, “You cannot subsidize irresponsibility and expect people to become more responsible.”
It is in that vein that the HOPE Act was passed in the Kansas Legislature back in 2015, according to Kansas Republican House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins. It is his contention that actions by the Department for Children and Families in Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s administration violate that law.
“We knew at some point, there would probably be a different administration that would have different thoughts,” said Hawkins. “We did not want the work requirements to be violated. The law specifically states that they cannot use any program or waiver to skirt the requirements of the statute. The statute has a work requirement.”
A memo from an administration official to DCF officials attempts to use federal exemption money to extend the time an able-bodied adult without dependents can be on food stamps for an additional month beyond the three-month time limit put into place by the federal government that is codified in Kansas as part of the HOPE Act.
“We just gave the Governor a letter putting her on notice that we know about it and we expect her to make a change and actually comply with the law,” said Hawkins. “We’re all sworn to uphold the statutes of the State of Kansas and we expect her to do that.”
If the Governor does not rescind the memo, then the Legislature plans to explore its legal options.
“The HOPE Act, it was all about giving people hope, getting people back to work,” said Hawkins. “That was the whole purpose of the HOPE Act. We want to help those who need help, but we want them to help themselves and get back to work. When you violate that, then you violate the intent of the law and you violate the purpose. That is to help people get back to where they’re not dependent upon the government.”
Hawkins did not say how long legislators would give Kelly to comply with their request.