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HGOPs take old bills on new road show

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 9:38 am:

    Considering today’s news that the Boston bombers were on welfare, this could get more traction than you think.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 9:39 am:

    Cash assistance is directly out of the Milton Friedman playbook. Freedom to choose, don’t let the government dictate individuals choices in the free market.

    I take it this road show is the House GOPs idea of reaching out to new voters, seeking to bring more people into the tent with a positive vision of the future?

    That’s one way of doing it, I guess.

    But I don’t think Jack Kemp done it this-a-way. Jack didn’t do it this-a-way….

  3. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 9:43 am:

    Besides, there are economic benefits to the liquor store and tattoo parlor industries from customers who freely choose to use their assistance monies in those ways.

  4. - illinifan - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 9:44 am:

    How would this even be enforced…a person has the TANF money deposited to their EBT card (the LINK card). They then can go to any ATM and obtain the cash that was deposited. I have never heard of any cash being marked as TANF cash, so how would a store know that this is the source of the cash. Well meaning, but in reality almost impossible to implement unless we return to the days when I was a young caseworker and had to make home visits and actually authorized direct payment of the the rent and utilities for the person. This was a lot of work and required a very small caseload (in other words more caseworkers). I don’t think these legislators want to hire more state workers to monitor. Spend your time making laws that actually can be implemented.

  5. - RNUG Fan - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    These are mostly federal pass through programs so I don’t see huge savings but their years of ranting about pensions made it a big issue. Of course it cam back to bite them because the cost shift is the one clearly constitutional idea.
    I notice they aren’t out ranting about pensions

  6. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:00 am:

    Not sure how this would save money as it focuses upon what the money is spent on versus how much is spent. Even if a system were in place to restrict what the money is spent on, folks could still spend all their money on allowable items.

  7. - Cooper - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    ===cash assistance was a national GOP idea=== So that makes it a good one?

  8. - wndycty - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    Considering a number of working poor people also receive assistance how do you track cash purchases to know whether or not an individual is using his or her personal money for some of the prohibited purchases?

  9. - Tsavo - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    I was chasing a fugitive from the west side of Chicago who was wanted on a felony warrant. I had this wonderful contact in Springfield who would notify me every time she used her LINK card. I would then go to that business in an attempt to arrest her in the area.

    I sent a written proposal up the State Police chain-of-command suggesting we cross the LINK card list against L.E.A.D.S. and N.C.I.C. Every person who is wanted on a serious warrant (not minor traffic) would be sent a letter to appear for recertification of benefits. If they did not show up, benefits would be terminated. If they showed up they would be arrested. My concern was why are fugitives from justice receiving LINK card benefits.

    Needless to say, the State Police killed my idea right out of the gate.

  10. - Sideliner - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:09 am:

    ==* They also traveled to Decatur, where they admitted that the plan has no chance of passage…==

    Bored with nothing to do, took a road trip.

  11. - Both Sides Now - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    I think it would be impossible to track the cash. However, if there is not a certain percentage on the Link card that is not directly allocated to food, perhaps that is a possibility. For example, my flexible spending account card will only work on the bar codes of authorized items.
    I have no problem suspending the cards of those who are incarcerated. Not sure how they would use them anyway.
    Totally agree that ID must be shown when using the card. This is a no-brainer. We have to do it when using a lot of cards and checks anyway - even to get cash back at the bank! I have heard it would be very costly to put photos on the cards - names would be sufficient with ID.
    I don’t have a problem with supporting those who need it but there obviously needs to be tighter control on this program.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    Reading this Post, still torn how to react. I need to do just a little more reading on all the HGOP is doing specifically on this “trip” and the Bills …

  13. - Bitterman - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    Dog chases tail……details at 11.

  14. - illinifan - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    To Tsavo….the state welfare offices do not link with the data system to identify if a person is a wanted fugitive (agree it would be a good idea since this sometimes will disqualify a person from getting benefits). In my 35 years of doing this work I only had one person tell me during the application that they were a fugitive felon.

    There is a data match with the prison and jail system, so the worker does become aware if a person is incarcerated and benefits will be stopped.

    The LINK card separates the funds deposited to the card into the food portion and the cash portion. A person cannot legally obtain cash for any food benefits deposited to the account. The only cash issued should be if they are authorized for cash benefits. Like I indicated earlier they can obtain the cash at an ATM. Food can only be obtained if the card is swiped at a POS device. There are just under 52,000 families receiving cash help in the entire state vs. close to 1.3 million medical cases and about 1 million SNAP cases.

    Hope those numbers put the issue into perspective.

  15. - Chris - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    “prevent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits (TANF) from being used for … firearms”

    How DARE they propose to infringe on 2A rights!! Did the NRA approve this move?

  16. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    Did they fly the state plane for this freak show or just drive and claim mileage?
    Once again lets ask Rep. Roth and other if, once learning merchants were using Link cards for booze, tatoos, bazookas, black helicopters or anything other whack job myth did they pick up the phone and use their pudgy fingers to push 9-1-1 and report the crime?
    For the past 20 years the answer has always been “no” maybe this year it will be different.
    BTW Mr./Ms Sideliner we have been to Decatur and while it was a special place RxRon it is not a venue one uses to relieve boredom.

  17. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    Some of these weren’t even brought to committee, much less available for a floor vote. It’s part of a political show, which as how some spend this break time.

    They also have no practical enforcement process.

    If Cross and his team were serious about these ideas, they would rewrite bills so that they could actually work, get the necessary support, and use available shell bills to operate past the usual schedule. Unlikely.

  18. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    In 2010 there were about 30,000 TANF cases in Illinois, down from about 240,000 in 1995. A single parent who is able to work must work or participate in a work activity for at least 30 hours per week. Two-parent families are required to work 35 hours per week. A family of 3 in Chicago receives a monthly TANF grant of $432, 28% of the federal poverty line. And these people are just throwing money awY?

  19. - Phenomynous - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 10:56 am:

    I would like to compare the HGOP reform bills to the House Dems reform bills. Does anyone know the bill numbers/sponsors and proposals to bring down fraud and waste in government from the Majority?

  20. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    I read a New York Times article about this issue. In Florida, the cost of the drug test was higher than the amount of money spent on benefits. According to the article, one reason is because the welfare recipients were reimbursed for passing the test. Also, drug testing did not reduce the number of cases.

    I do agree that the TANF cash should not be spent on alcohol, firearms, tattoos and other nonessential items. The grants are very small and should be only used for subsistence.

    I see that many people on welfare are not reporting income because they say that the parents of their children are not living with them. When we run the absent parents’ Social Security Numbers in our employment database, we sometimes see income. We don’t see, however, where they are living. We should have one integrated system that shows where people report they are living to employers and the IRS, where their cars are registered, where they are registered to vote, whether they are receiving subsidized housing, etc. I think we can do a much better job in collecting/disbursing child support.

    Welfare programs belong to the poor, aged and sick, and we should do our best to protect the intergrity of the programs.

  21. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 11:17 am:

    1994 called. It wants its wedge issue back.

  22. - reformer - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    If our Republican friends want to save big money, they should focus on eligibility for Medicaid payments to nursing homes. Payments to nursing homes constitutes a large share of all Medicaid expenditures.

    Most of the people in nursing homes at public expense were not previously on welfare. So the issue is what happened to their asset? Some middle-class seniors have been known to transfer assets to their adult children so they can qualify for Medicaid. Does the GOP want to crack down on such financial slights of hand that come at public expense?

  23. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    About 1983 two Deputy Sheriffs in a large downstate county took the warrants file and sat at the township office checking names as people got their vouchers. Do not believe there were enough results to do it again.

  24. - Boat captain - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    @Reformer-11:19-My mother was in a nursing home for the last three years of her life. We had exhausted all of her disposible assets and the last month she lived had to apply for medicaid for her care. She was entitled to keep her home until her death. At the time of her death we had to reimberse Medicaid from the asset of selling her home for the money that Medicaid provided. If you put anything in a trust you have to survive for so many years for the Medicaid reimbursement to not be repaid.

  25. - Happy Returns - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    “A family of 3 in Chicago receives a monthly TANF grant of $432, 28% of the federal poverty line. And these people are just throwing money awY?”

    People who are good and prudent with money don’t tend to stay on assistance.
    Waste is bad, but comes with the territory. When someone can show me a way to prevent it that costs less than the absolute value of the fraud, I will care about whether or not someone on assistance pays for their water bill or a tattoo.

  26. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 11:50 am:

    DHS and the gaming industry have taken steps to prevent LINK card cash benfits from being withdrawn from ATMs on or near gaming boats. Unless they want to hire a state employee to follow people around and watch how they spend cash, how do you enforce this?

    Also, the feds set the rules, and right now the feds say anyone using a LINK card must be treated the exact same way someone using cash is so unless the retail industry is ready to ask for an ID from everyone (they mostly oppose this bills)the feds won’t approve.

    Also, feds in no uncertain terms say you can hand your LINK card to your friend, relative or anyone and send them to the store for you so what good is an ID on a card?

    And finally, guess who would pay for the equipment and more staff to do this, Illinois would, not the feds so does Cross and company have an approp. bill ready to fund this? Nothing better than spending state GRF to save a federal program money.

  27. - Tsavo - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 1:29 pm:


    I don’t know, maybe it has to do with geographical area. In 2001, two residents left a nursing home in Joliet and returned covered with blood. They had committed a home invasion and murder. IDPA ran the residents and 15 were fugitives. We then began “sweeping” the homes. Some facilities had as many as 27 fugitives either residing or working. Some residents were in their early 20’s,gang members, parolees,etc. terrorizing the elderly and disabled. See story attached.

  28. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 2:16 pm:


    Do not see that has anything to do with TANF or any of the proposed bills.

  29. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    What’s the position of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association on the bill, and does Todd Vandermyde have a position on whether prohibiting individuals receiving public assistance from purchasing firearms is constitutional?

  30. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    To my knowledge the Retail Merchants oppose the bill.

  31. - reformer - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    Chris and Juvenal raise a good question: Where are the gun rights supporters when it comes to the indigent? Aren’t their Second Amendment rights just as sacrosanct as the rest of ours?

    It’s rare for Republicans to propose restrictions on gun purchase. This reinforces the perception that the GOP doesn’t give a rip about the poor.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 3:06 pm:

    I have thought about this, and now I have come to the conclusion that this was a sad piece of theatre.

    What made me have pause was a Posts I had a while back …


    - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 13, 13 @ 9:38 am:

    I posted this back when Robling “advised” the H&SGOP to leave Springfield, and I feel the same way about THIS “idea” as I did about Robling;

    - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:35 am: -

    ===To rehab the H&SGOP, they have to actually look engaged, to show that the process of doing is what is being done by the members. That work includes putting together bills, and having responsible, complete responses to Democratic propsals, bills, and passed/signed legislation to be able to build on becoming remotely relevent in 2014. Saying “we are against that” and not explaining why, or having a drafted alternative is not getting them anywhere.===

    - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 2:15 pm: -

    ===I would hope that the H&SGOP would have “quick response” bills ready to roll out in opposition to Dem bills the GOP will not be in favor of, and be ready to defend the bills, tout them as an alternative, and build a “Shadow” record of Bills, with what can be considered “Agenda 2014″ that is more inclusive, fiscally sound, politically savy, and governmentally sound.===

    The HUGE difference is that all this work, is done in the process of the General Assembly, in SPRINGFIELD! the H&SGOP would seem engaged in the process, and have REAL substance in a REAL place that it matters, and its not a “table full of groceries” with no answer to the questions…

    Traveling around Illinois and NOT being engaged in every bill, not saying “No, we don’t like it”, but having a response that is sound, and a response with Bills, showing the public the GOP in the General Assembly is committed to governing, and we are committed to show the voters a record for both the Democrats and the Republicans… and the Republican’s record won’t be just about “No”.

    The most important staffs for the GOP are the research and approp staffs. Getting something in “Bill” form to counter and to be able to respond quickly with valuable information to build upon these “Bills” will seem loads better than leaving Springfield and doig nothing, or renting ONE bus (Heck 66 GOP GA members can fit one one bus, sweet!) and go stumping away from springfield, with not one Bill, not one REAL response to have as a platform to show as hard work being done in springfield.

    What ever did happen to that table of food the SGOP had out, touting costs? Hopefully it weas donated to a shelter, because that food should have helped someone, because it ddin’t help that day for the SGOP …===


    This pathetic attempt to seem engaged, and “selling” the status of the Bills away from Springfield where the true status would be found out and would make this seem foolish shows how disengenuous this feeble attempt really is.


    Maybe “Two Putt” was tired of playing The Rail and Panther Creek and needed new places to golf, How far fetched is it to think …I mean, any “Leader” who golfs on Election Day wouldn’t mind, right?

    Do something constructive, or just admit golf is on the agenda …Very disappointed.

  33. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 4:06 pm:

    ===Considering today’s news that the Boston bombers were on welfare===

    Yeah. OK. Lots of people have been on welfare. And neither was on welfare at the time of the bombing. Move along.

  34. - Leslie - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 8:00 pm:

    We just don’t learn. The state has limited ability to restrict what recipients can buy with their link money. The problem has always been lack of manpower on the part of authorities to crack down on link abuse. This bill will not solve that. Also, it is already illegal for anyone in county jails or state prisons to receive food stamps. The problem is that state workers just don’t have the time to track down the databases to show who is incarcerated at any particular time. The state aid computer system is not integrated with a lot of other agency databases. So, again, unless the state comes up with more money to do this and actually does it nothing will improve. Last the state did used to put photos on state welfare ID’s and the recipients loved the idea. It got so they could use them instead of paying for state IDs for all types of programs. The state stopped doing this because it cost too much to do. Every now and then people still come into aid offices asking if they can get a picture ID. So, good luck with finding the state money for this too again!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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