Governor signs bill proving legality for benefits

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a measure that requires agencies to verify that applicants for public benefits are legal residents.

The legislation -- which passed the Senate 29-1 and the House 64-18 -- was delayed in the lower chamber last year because the cost of the measure was a little over $1 million. But House sponsor Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, said the tab has been reduced to around $100,000.

He said every applicant won't have to be verified because there are other processes in place to prove legal residence.

Sponsors said the intention is to make sure that individuals lawfully in Tennessee get the benefits first.

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