The vote came even after an aide to the governor told the committee Haslam opposes the bill and might veto it. The bill, which targets mostly single mothers, cuts welfare benefits by 30 percent to the families of kids who fail a grade in school.
Republicans think it’s a really neat way to inspire parental involvement in welfare mothers, most of whom are working a couple of jobs to try to keep their families from losing their homes and living on the street. The maximum benefit under this program is $182 a month for a family of three and it’s limited to five years.
Rep. Josh Evans, R-Springfield, said it's his experience that poor people are too busy talking into their cell phones to pay attention to their children.
“They at least give the appearance that they care more about their electronics and their cell phone and other things than they do their kids, and I think that’s really unfortunate. Sometimes the only way to get people’s attention is in their pocketbook,” Evans told the committee.
But Democrats wondered why Republicans aren’t picking on corporate executives whose businesses take millions of dollars in state grants. How many parent-teacher conferences do they attend? Here’s another great idea: Every time the child of a state lawmaker fails a grade, we cut that lawmaker’s $173 per diem. Fair is fair.