North Carolina legislators approved a bill that will institute mandatory background checks for benefit recipients.
The measure, passed by a 106-6 margin, requires all social services employees to perform background checks to screen welfare and food stamp applicants with outstanding arrest warrants and other active violations.
Republican Dean Arp sponsored the bill, which will now move to the state senate for approval.
Federal law already prohibits those with felonies from receiving public benefits.
Democratic legislators expressed reservations about how the added work would impact already overburdened social work employees. There’s also the issue of added shame applicants may feel while applying for benefits. The measure is being viewed by many as an effort to frighten people so that they won’t bother applying for public assistance.
Of course, Republicans in North Carolina oppose universal background checks for gun buyers. And corporation owners aren’t required to undergo background checks in order to receive federal subsidies.
North Carolina is not the only state implementing barriers to public assistance. Earlier this week, the Texas Senate passed a bill that will force drug tests on welfare recipients who are provided with money for food, housing, and other basic needs.