ADA, OK -- According to House Bill 1909, able-bodied individuals ages 18 to 50, who are not disabled or raising a child, will now be required to work at least 20 hours of work in order to receive food stamps.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill that was authored by House Speaker T. W. Shannon on Tuesday.
" I just believe that, you know, we're gonna start changing the culture of entitlement, we've got to encourage work," said House Speaker Shannon. "I don't care who you are, it's amazing what 8 to 12 hours of hard work will do not just for your pocketbook, not just for your community around you, but what it will do for your self esteem."
These work requirements come from the 1996 Welfare Reform Law. Currently those seeking food stamps do not have to work prior to receiving them because of federal government waivers.
Now people will be eligible to receive food stamps for 90 days, and after those 90 days are up, they will be required to work.
ECU Political Science Professor Christine Pappas says fewer people may start receiving food stamps, but she does believe that it could help some Oklahomans get back on their feet.
"I think it could be the spur that people need to re-enter the job force," said Pappas. "But for some people that aren't working, you know, there's probably a reason they're not. You know they don't have skills, or are there not jobs in the area that they aren't qualified to do."
ECU Student Barbara Tiry believes this is a positive step for Oklahoma
"The people who are seeking help from the government should be contributing something positive to the society, that they're trying to get things out of," Tiry said. "Maybe not just work, maybe not 20 hrs of work, but even 20 hours of volunteer work."
The bill goes into law November 1st.