MADISON, Wis. — The Latest on Assembly debate on public benefits bills (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

The state Assembly passed a Republican proposal that would subject more people in state-run work programs to drug screening.

The Assembly approved 62-35 a bill from Rep. Cody Horlacher that would add a handful of state-run work programs to the list of those that require applicants to undergo screening for drug abuse and get treatment when needed.

Democrats say the idea sounds good politically but is an ineffective way to treat addiction and unfairly targets low-income people.

Horlacher said it wouldn’t affect most people.

The Assembly also passed a bill that would allow people receiving child care subsidies to receive partial subsidies after exceeding 200 percent of the poverty line.

Both bills would need to pass the Senate before they go to Gov. Walker to become law.


4:45 p.m.

The state Assembly approved a Republican bill that would require children of parents who receive benefits through state work programs to regularly attend school and would impose a fine if they don’t.

The Assembly passed the bill 62-35 Wednesday. Current law requires children only to be enrolled in school.

Rep. Joe Sanfellipo, the bill’s sponsor, says parents would owe $50 a month for each child with five or more unexcused absences in a semester. He says the goal is to get children counseling that keeps them in school.

Democrats say it further disadvantages children from poor families. Republicans shot down Democratic amendments, including one that would also track the attendance of children who attend voucher schools.

The bill would still need to pass the Senate before it goes to Gov. Walker to become law.


3 p.m.

The state Assembly has passed a Republican proposal that authorizes the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to get federal approval for a pilot program that requires housing voucher recipients to satisfy certain work requirement.

The measure passed 61-35 Wednesday, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it.

Rep. Terry Katsma, the bill’s sponsor, says it would require able-bodied program participants to have a job, be in job training or look for a job with the state’s help.

He says the pilot program wouldn’t include Milwaukee County and Dane County, where other housing programs already exist.

Democratic Rep. Lisa Subeck says the measure is dangerous and will cause more people to become homeless.

The bill would still need to pass the Senate before it goes to Gov. Walker to become law.


1:15 p.m.

The sponsor of a Republican bill that would subject more people in state-run work programs to required drug screening says it would help people in Wisconsin with substance abuse problems get help.

Rep. Cody Horlacher said at a news conference with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday that it would also ensure state resources are used effectively. The Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday.

Horlacher says he doesn’t immediately know how many more people would be screened under the bill. Democratic Rep. Lisa Subeck says she believes it would apply to fewer than 10,000 people.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says the bill would be a roundabout and expensive way to help people with substance abuse issues.


5:24 a.m.

Democratic lawmakers say a Republican proposal to require drug screening in more state-run work programs sounds good but would be a waste of money.

The Assembly is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill from Rep. Cody Horlacher of Mukwonago. Horlacher has said the measure would help drug addicts get them treatment and protect their children.

But Democratic lawmakers up against record Republican majorities say that’s not how it works in practice. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca says there are better ways to help people get help and the measure would cost more money than it saves.

Horlacher didn’t immediately respond to a message. The measure is one of four GOP proposals up for a vote that would alter requirements for public benefits or programs.