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NC Senate panel backs welfare background checks

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A bill requiring North Carolina state workers to check the criminal history of welfare and food stamp recipients has passed a Senate panel.

A Senate judiciary committee unanimously endorsed the bill Tuesday, sending it on to another panel. The bill requires social services employees to see whether applicants or returning beneficiaries are fleeing from the law or violating parole.

A previous version required employees to immediately report red flags to local law enforcement, but the latest iteration requires social services to adopt rules for sharing that information first. The change arose out of concerns about complying with federal law.

Legislative staffers say the federal government already requires states to deny benefits to people with violations that are targeted by the bill. Critics have said the bill unfairly profiles welfare recipients.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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