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Walker Talks Lincoln Hills, Welfare Reform In Eagle River

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Governor Scott Walker stopped by the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River Friday and spoke to reporters.

Walker was asked why he has decided to speed up the process to convert the Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake Juvenile Corrections facility at Irma to an adult prison.... 

"...we have a plan, we spent a year working on it with lawmakers from both parties with experts from around the country. It's really about long-term reform, not looking at one thing, but having best practices. The timing was such, as I proposed it, to put it in the next budget, but we got such positive reaction from lawmakers in both political parties that we said lets bring it up right away and get moving on it. We already have the work done in terms of request for proposals once we got approval from the legislature...."

The plan would build five regional juvenile facilities, including one in northern Wisconsin, to replace the juvenile facilities in northern Wisconsin. Critics have charged the changes were slow in coming and didn't come forward until outside pressure was put on for reform sooner.

Walker also talked about a series of proposals to reform welfare programs....

"...for us it's all about having more people work, move transition from welfare to the workforce. We saw the historic number of three percent unemployment. The only time in our history it has been as low as three percent was 1999 when Tommy Thompson was Governor. Things were pretty good back then, they're pretty good right now. People that are working age, able-body adults, we want to get them the skills to get back in the workforce. We want to make sure they can pass a drug test. Employers tell us these people can work if they pass a drug test. Getting them healthy and clean again will help get them back into work..."

The plan requires additional drug testing and screening for people in public housing, requiring photo identification cards for food stamp recipients and upping work requirements from 20 hours to 30 hours.

Comments courtesy WJFW TV.

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