Mississippi and Maine State Governors Take Stand on Social Issues – Phil Bryant and Paul LePage

Mississippi Governor – Phil Bryant-  Explains Why He Signed Religious Liberty Law

Genevieve Wood /

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Governor Phil Bryant, Republican -Mississippi, explains what his state’s new religious liberty law does and doesn’t do. While many opponents of the law say it will harm Mississippi’s economy, Bryant paints a different picture. He’s lowered taxes a whopping 50 times since taking office and says that, among other pro-growth policies, have made Mississippi a very friendly environment for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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thank you for talking with us so thank you for having me you are you coming
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under fire from the folks because of the bill that you signed recently in
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mississippi basically upholding the first amendment and tried it is
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disappointing that people just react emotionally about this and it’s not
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their fault because the media’s helping them form an idea that is just
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completely untrue and misrepresents what the bill does the bill simply saves the
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government of state of Mississippi and its political subdivisions cannot
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discriminate against people of faith who hold deeply held religious beliefs when
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it comes to marriage other religious activities so if a baker or target for
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someone at my own building says I really my religious beliefs or allow me to
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become involved in your same-sex wedding go to another one
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go to another there’s plenty of other bakers and other photographers but that
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the state can’t come in several take your business license I’m going to find
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you if you don’t do that in municipalities tend to be more liberal
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in some cases than the state so all the building is simply protect people of
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faith from an overbearing state and perhaps local government but this
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doesn’t in any way say it if they gave her some of the walk into a restaurant
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and order a meal the business owner can say I’m not going absolutely not unless
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they are having a wedding party there and then he might be upset just don’t
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think I can cater that already at my wrists because you’re in a religious
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activity if you want to go and eat at the restaurant a boxcar it is dis it
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affects that no not not only in this bill but there’s no bills no walls in
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the state of mississippi that would allow or any even encouraged that or
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even hit that you might be able to do that because now it’s all about
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perception so now they say well there’s bill may give someone the impression
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that they can do
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oh my goodness now we’re having to do with impressions when it deals with the
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First Amendment of the United States cuts to what have you heard from the
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citizens of mississippi it’s been so encouraging most of the the social
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media’s from out of state so you get a lot of really disappointing angry there
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are a lot of angry people out there i’ma conservative but I’m not mad about to
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get really really a lot of it has a very foul language and so we just have to
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move it but the average mississippian that’s out working rate from their
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family going to church on Sunday mornings living their lives working hard
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and a great economy or very encouraging in saying governor we understand we
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believe in what you do it and we know
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mississippi’s not going to discriminate against anyone and thank you for saying
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that but i wanna make sure all the things that happened to simply as well
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let’s talk about the economy let’s talk about what you been able to do there
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where does mississippi stands right now oh well we’re the best in the nation for
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the cost of doing business mississippi is one of the best states in America the
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culture of doing business because we have a low cost of living if you making
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$100 nationally in the state of mississippi you’d be making a hundred
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and fifteen you’re buying power would be that much increase when I love we’re
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number five in the nation for the growth of women owned businesses not a
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narrative you would probably happen here on some of the other
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around the other states are in the new york times but we’re number for that we
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are tremendously make the most advanced warships on the planet
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singles so we make warships Raytheon makes the most advanced radar in their
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entire systems and forced mississippi over a hundred aerospace industries the
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UA UA a center of excellence designated by the federal aviation administration
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is at Mississippi State University General Electric assembles to their jet
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engines in the state of Mississippi and advanced manufacturing has been
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tremendous when I came into office unemployment was about 9.6 percent is
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about 26 percent now so over 46,000 jobs have been created for people who like
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tax cut here on a road leading up to 50 tax cuts in the little four and a half
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years since I’ve been governor and that some businesses individuals corporations
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small businesses so we can encourage this small entrepreneur to continue to
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grow its business and pleasure talking with health thank you so much thank you
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Why More States Are Requiring Work Requirements for Food Stamps

Elisabeth Zenger / Rachel Sheffield /

Newspaper headlines have been bemoaning that more states will now have to require adults on food stamps—who are able-bodied and without dependents—to work.

Since 2009, nearly all states have been able to waive the modest food stamp work requirement. But these waivers have gradually been expiring, and as of April 1, more states are once again required to enforce the modest food stamp work requirement.

The food stamps program is one of the largest government means-tested welfare programs. Participation grew rapidly, increasing from 28.2 million in the 2008 fiscal year to 45.8 million in the 2015 fiscal year (participation peaked in 2013 with 47.6 million participants). The most rapid growth was among able-bodied adults without dependents, which jumped from just under 2 million in 2008 to 4.7 million in 2014.

Part of the reason for the increase was that Obama’s stimulus package waived food stamps’ work requirement. This required those who are adults and able to work and who don’t have children to work part-time (or do some type of work activity) in order to get food stamps. If not, their benefits would be limited to three months.

After 2009, most states continued to receive waivers until this year. Even now, however, the majority of states still receive a partial waiver, meaning that parts of states are exempt from the work requirement.

Some states decided to end their waivers early, and evidence shows that the work requirement in these states has been beneficial.

After Kansas ended its work requirement waiver in 2013, it saw a 75-percent decline in its caseload of able-bodied adults with dependents. For those who left the program, average income increased within a year, from $2,453 annually to $5,562 annually: an amount greater than their previous income and food stamp benefits combined. For those still on food stamps, the work requirement led to more employment and higher incomes.

Maine is another example. The state reinstated work requirements in December 2014, and within three months, its caseload of adults without dependents dropped by 80 percent, from 13,332 to 2,678. Nine months later, it had dropped to 1,886. Most chose to forgo benefits rather than meet the work requirements.

A common concern is that those people choosing not to fulfill the work requirement lack adequate assistance to meet the requirements, but the numerous options for work, training, and community service provided by the state of Maine were met with very little response.

As reported in a previous Heritage Foundation article, “when the Maine Department of Health and Human Services conducted outreach to about 700 able bodied adults without dependents in Portland to inform them about a volunteer program that could fulfill the community service work requirement, only about 15 of the 700 contacted responded.”

Welfare assistance should be available to those in need, but policy should encourage self-sufficiency for able-bodied adults rather than simply provide a one-way government handout. The examples of Kansas and Maine show that work requirements accomplished what they are intended to do: Encourage self-sufficiency. Work requirements promote greater self-reliance and establish reciprocal obligation between the beneficiary and the taxpayers who provide the benefits.

However, the vast majority of the federal government’s 80 means-tested welfare programs do not include a work requirement. Good welfare policy should promote productive participation in society through work to improve the well-being of recipients.

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the number of food stamp recipients the United States has risen dramatically
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from 17.2 million in 2002 45 point eight million in 2015 costs have soared as
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well from 20.7 billion dollars in 2008 e 3.1 billion dollars in 2014
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the most rapid growth in recipient able-bodied capable adults between the
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ages of 18 and 49 who do not have children or other dependents to support
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the number of recipients has more than doubled nationally swelling from nearly
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two million 2008 around five million today in response to this rapid growth
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main to Governor Paul LePage recently established work requirement on
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recipients were without dependents enable body in Maine all able-bodied
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adult dependents in the food stamp program are now required to take a job
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participate in training or perform community service in the first three
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months after may not work policy went into effect its caseload able-bodied
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adults without dependent plummeted by 80% falling from 13330 to reset the
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incident number of 2014 to 2678 in March 2015 government should aid those in need
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the welfare should not be a one-way handouts
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Maine’s Successful Welfare Reform and Why It Worked

Genevieve Wood /

States are often the best laboratories for testing out what public policies will make life better for their citizens. Maine’s experiment with welfare reform is a great example. When Gov. Paul LePage, only the second Republican governor of Maine in the past 50 years, came into office, one in three people living in the state was on some form of welfare. LePage talked with me about how they turned the system on its head and how those reforms have made the American dream a reality for more of Maine’s citizens.

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page thank you for talking with us it’s a pleasure
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you’re doing some amazing things in Maine and so we can get
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to let let’s talk about what you’ve done on welfare reform when you came to
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office
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one-in-three citizens in Maine were on some form of welfare one-in-three
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one-in-three a third of our population was in some form of welfare what are you
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surprised by that
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yes enormous price III I realized that MaineCare which was medicaid was was
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heavy we had a lot of dual eligibles because we have a very old state where
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the oldest state in America but it was shocking to see the youth was on it and
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so that’s we went to work on getting them to work yet so you you’d start some
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called welfare-to-work among other reforms tell us about what you think
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it’s been most successful in changing the dynamics are and where you are today
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I think that the thing that worked best in the way that the system sort of be
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bored was by combining the department health and human services education
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labor and now we’re putting in the veterans administration in the same
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building so that when people come and we assess them if we do an assessment we
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send them for educational assessment skills assessment and if they’re better
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because many people particularly in recent last decade most of the soldiers
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National Guard so what we do now is we say sir we do an intake we assess their
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need their educational skills and whether or not what do they need so they
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can hold down a job and so if you’re an able-bodied person between the ages of
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1950 you are asked to look for work
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volunteer or go to school and what’s been the result of that the one-third
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decided they didn’t want to do any of the above so they left to happen happen
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within a couple of months one third of the people that were on welfare some
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form of brown because we all know and they weren’t for me that’s the thing
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they just came to me because we’re so generous
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and they just went back home that’s really what happened when they’re not on
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the streets they just returned home but the bank people we really are
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concentrating on work with me people and so what’s happening now with young women
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particularly the young women who have children
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single moms they are really the heroes in a state I am so proud of the results
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are some of these young ladies who have gone back to school yet CNAs I ran some
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of becoming teachers it’s just exciting to see what’s happening with the younger
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and the difference being that you’ve asked people to try to help people get
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skills as opposed to just give them a check right keep the main issue is we
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take an interest in the people we take an interest from the standpoint of daily
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intake understand what their needs are understand where they are and we work
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with them rather than just say thank you will send you a check we roll up our
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sleeves and we go to work with them and that’s that’s the key
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having someone to talk to someone to help you understand what an interview
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does what he doing an interview with you what you do you know just encouraging
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people you can do it I am i believe the american dream so it’s easy for me to
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say if I can do it you can do it and I can prove that I i’ve done it so it’s
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it’s exciting to see people moving up and when you get those letters of
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thinking governor I used to hate you know I love it feels good it feels good
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so there’s some gratification government page thank you very much it’s been a
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pleasure

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Genevieve Wood

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve.

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