One of the chief architects of the landmark federal welfare reform law of 1996 will be among the speakers at an upcoming Empire Center policy forum exploring the law’s impact nationally and in New York.

Ron Haskins, who helped draft the Welfare Reform bill a decade ago while staff director of the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee, will deliver a keynote speech at the half-day forum, which begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the Albany Institute of History and Art. Haskins is now a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, co-director of Brookings’ Center on Children and Families, and author of the new book “Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law.”

Other speakers at the forum will include Lawrence Mead, a professor of politics at New York University who is among the nation’s foremost academic experts on welfare policy; and Robert Doar, commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Services (OTDA), which oversees New York’s welfare-to-work programs. A complete event agenda can be found here.

Known officially as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the welfare reform law was signed in 1996 by President Clinton, who pledged to “end welfare as we know it.” Since the law took effect, welfare rolls in New York and across the country have plunged. Now, with a change in leadership about to take place at the highest level of government in New York, a new administration will have the opportunity to put its own stamp on welfare reform in the Empire State.

The Empire Center for Public Policy is a non-partisan, independent think tank.

The Oct. 26 policy forum will be held at the Albany Institute of History and Art’s Key Cultural Center, 125 Washington Avenue. Persons interested in attending should call 518-434-3100, or send an email to

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