* House Republicans went to Normal yesterday to unveil a welfare reform plan…
Illinois Republicans are proposing a welfare reform package that they say could save the state millions of dollars. […]
“There are folks that definitely do need help, whether that’s in welfare or Medicaid,” said [House GOP Leader Tom Cross]. “We want to be there to make sure we have a system that is viable and can sustain itself but that is not abused.”
Another portion of the plan, under House Bill 2784, would prevent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits (TANF) from being used for alcohol, lottery tickets and firearms.
“It’s even been reported that these benefits are being used for tattoos and body piercings,” Roth said. “We’re all about helping people that need help but we want to see these dollars put to good use.”
The final portion of the package would prevent criminals already in jail from receiving public aid.
* They also traveled to Decatur, where they admitted that the plan has no chance of passage…
The fate of the plan is bleak, though, with all four bills currently assigned to the House Rules Committee, where many bills are sent to die.
Additionally, no Democrats currently sponsor the legislation, which does not bode well for passage in the Democrat-controlled House or Senate.
Cross, who has not yet spoken to House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, about the proposal, said he talked to some Democrats about supporting the plan and sees no reason why the plan cannot be passed in a bipartisan fashion.
“These ideas should be bipartisan, and they should be receiving support from our friends on the other side of the aisle,” he said.
The bills are in Rules because the 3rd Reading deadline was last Friday. One of their bills, HB2784, lost in subcommittee on a partisan roll call. Another, HB3174, was voted down 7-5 in the Human Services Committee back in March. HB2490 and HB 133 were never moved for a vote in committee.
Ergo, out of town press conferences where local reporters probably wouldn’t know how to check bill status updates.
* From the House GOP press release…
* House Bill 2784 guarantees that cash assistance benefits are used for the basic needs for which they are intended. TANF benefits are intended to provide financial assistance to help pay for basic needs such as food, shelter, utilities, and other necessary expenses, however under current law a person is free to spend this cash however they feel. The legislation would prevent TANF benefits from being used to purchase alcohol, lottery tickets, firearms, and other specified goods and services.
* House Bill 3174 and House Bill 2490 would prevent criminals from receiving aid. These bills would suspend public aid and benefits to inmates at State correctional facilities and recipients with outstanding warrants.
* House Bill 133 ensures that a person using a LINK card is the authorized user. The proposal would require all LINK cards to display a photo of the cardholder to ensure that the person presenting it at the checkout counter is the same person who is entitled to use it. The names of all secondary users will also be placed on the card. Secondary users will be required to show a valid photo id before they can use the card.
* From HB 2784’s synopsis…
Amends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Article of the Illinois Public Aid Code. Provides that no person shall knowingly use or accept cash assistance benefits provided under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program for the purchase or sale of certain services or products, including alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, firearms or firearms ammunition, admission to any performance, gambling games, and rental goods.
I’m not sure how they’re supposed to track that. Seems like a press release bill to me. Also, cash assistance was a national GOP idea. The prison idea seems like a good one. But we’ve already extensively discussed the problems with the LINK ID proposals.