In what is becoming an increasingly partisan environment in Augusta, the legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee came together last week to unanimously kill two poorly conceived welfare reform bills.

Both would have required recipients to establish residency before receiving state or federal services, which sounds like a good idea, but would create more problems than they would solve.

One bill would have required people to prove that they had been in the state for 90 days before they could apply for services, but similar laws in other states have been struck down in federal courts as unconstitutional. The bill addressed a problem that statistics say does not exist in Maine: More welfare recipients left the state than moved in from 2006 to 2008, indicating that we don’t have to risk a costly lawsuit to stem a tide that doesn’t exist.

The other bill would have required every recipient to wait 30 days before receiving any aid. Again, sounds good, but it attacks welfare from the wrong end: We should be more concerned about helping people transition away from services over time and less worried about helping people who need it. The committee made the right call twice and can now focus on the real problems facing the state.