Sen. Stacey Campfield's welfare bill put off after protest
April 11, 2013 3:52 PM
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Around 100 parents, clergy and kids were at the Tennessee State Capitol Thursday morning to successfully protest a bill that would cut temporary state assistance to recipients whose children have failing grades.
The measure, which is believed to be the first of its kind, was pulled by Republican Sen. Sponsor Stacey Campfield so it could be studied over the summer after a 40 minute debate on the Senate floor.
Prior to the debate, one of kids gave a petition with 2,500 signatures opposing the bill to Campfield.
Protestors there said Sen. Campfield told them, "thanks for using children as props."
The Knoxville lawmaker previously said his proposed bill was aimed at parents who can avoid a 30 % reduction in state Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) payments if their failing students satisfactorily pass summer school classes and the parents attend two conferences with teachers.
Campfield said his bill had been misunderstood, but one by one many his fellow Republicans rose in opposition on the Senate floor saying they agreed with trying to get parents involved, but not with Campfield's method.
Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris said he was "queasy with it."
Fellow Knoxville Senator Becky Massey told Campfield, "I think we have to look for other ways."
After the vote, Sen. Campfield told reporters, "everyone came up and said what you described is completely different than what has been portrayed and what you trying to do is a goal everyone here has."
Now they have the summer to work on it before the bill is likely to come back next year in some form.
Governor Bill Haslam had previously indicated he had "major problems" with the TANF bill while not directly threatening a veto if it passed.