Florida is asking the federal government to cap its funding to the state’s Medicaid program. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Republican lawmakers say that will mean more flexibility to provide quality healthcare at an affordable cost. But critics point to welfare reform and say fewer people will get health care.

Jaro Larnos via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jlarnos/

On paper, Florida’s economy has recovered since the great recession. But that progress isn’t obvious looking at the state’s public assistance enrollment.

Steven Depolo Via Flikr

When officials calculate a family’s income to determine whether they qualify for cash assistance programs, one lawmaker says current rules give families with an undocumented immigrant earner an unfair advantage.

MGN Online

A federal appeals court has thrown out a 2011 law requiring the drug testing of Florida welfare recipients. Governor Rick Scott has backed efforts to reinstate the mandate, despite multiple courts ruling against him.

Maria Kayanan represents the American Civil Liberties Union, who brought the original suit on behalf of a Navy vet and welfare applicant who refused to submit to a drug test. While she’s pleased with the ruling, she says she’s not surprised.

courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Low-income families who receive benefits via electronic cards issued by Florida’s Department of Children and Families spent most of Monday in the dark, thanks to a pre-planned outage. DCF used the day to change its systems as the department switches card vendors. Spokesman Whitney Ray says the department chose to rely on social media rather than on sending out letters to notify recipients…

Florida Department of Children and Families

In the next couple of weeks, a service center that helps people apply for benefits in Jefferson County will close its doors. It’s a cost-saving measure by Florida’s child welfare agency.

Nickolas Nikolic

Florida’s regional workforce boards help connect employers with workers. In addition to providing career training, the boards are also charged with helping transition people from getting federal public assistance to becoming self-sufficient. But this year’s state budget cut the welfare transition program.  And that’s making it harder for the boards to serve people with the lowest incomes.

A bill that would deny convicted drug felons from receiving temporary cash assistance, unless they go through a drug rehabilitation program, is now heading for a House floor vote. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, while the bill passed out of a House panel Tuesday, it received staunch opposition from Democrats, who claim the bill is mean-spirited.

Republican Representative Jimmie Smith of Lecanto says it’s the perfect way for the state of Florida to show that its officials are willing to help those who help themselves.

A proposal limiting when, for what and where the state’s food and cash assistance benefits, also known as welfare, can be used, has passed a House committee. Lynn Hatter reports the move comes after a report on the misuse of the electronic benefits card, or EBT.