A bill that would require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work, go to school, or volunteer for 20 hours a week has passed two readings in the Wyoming Senate.

Senate File 97 now faces a third reading in the body next week, after which Senators will decide whether to approve the bill and send it on to the Wyoming House of Representatives.

If the bill becomes law, the Wyoming Department of Health would have to ask for a waiver from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to implement the program. If the waiver is granted, three months after a person is approved for Medicaid or SNAP they would have to work at least 20 hours a week, or else take part in a job training program, attend school or do volunteer.

The person could also take part in any combination of those options as long as they put in a total of at least 20 hours per week. People could be exempt from the work requirement if they are under 18, over the age of 65, pregnant, have a serious medical condition or for various other reasons.

An amendment to the bill approved by Senators on Friday also exempts members of the Eastern Shoshone or Northern Arapahoe or any other federally recognized tribe for whom the federal government is obligated to provide health care.

The bill's primary sponsor, Sen. Larry Hicks [R-Sweetwater/Albany/Carbon counties] told lawmakers the purpose of the bill is to help people develop job skills and become productive members of society.