AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine lawmakers have endorsed a bill aimed at helping welfare recipients find long-term employment and get out of poverty.
The Democratic-controlled House unanimously approved the bill Thursday.
It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to work with welfare recipients to help them overcome barriers to self-sufficiency and refer them to education and other programs.
The bill's sponsor, House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick, says such programs have been successful in other states at "moving families off programs, into secure employment and out of poverty."
The bill faces a final vote in the Senate before heading to Republican Gov. Paul LePage.
Backers say it also could reduce state costs by moving some recipients with severe disabilities from the state program to the federally funded Supplemental Security Program.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)