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It is good to see the General Assembly moving toward passage of a major welfare reform bill to build on passage of last year's historic federal legislation. A Senate bill received first-round approval last week after days of debate. "Welfare is over. There is now a program to get people into jobs," says principal sponsor Joe Maxwell, D-Mexico. "This endless system of welfare is over."

Looking back, it is incredible how far the public consensus on welfare has come in a few short years. That all this far-reaching reform occurs amid broad bipartisan consensus can be said to be one of the glories of our democratic system, imperfect though it will always be. There will be bumps in this road, some foreseeable, some not. But the states are now functioning as our founders intended, as laboratories of democracy, testing which remedies work, and which don't.