Bill to penalize welfare parents stalls on Senate floor

Bill to penalize welfare parents stalls on Senate floor

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NASHVILLE (WATE) - A proposal that would dock welfare payments of parents whose children fail in school was sent back Thursday to a committee for study over the summer.

Senate Bill 0132, sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield (R, Knoxville), was debated at length on the floor of the Senate, but when several senators expressed concerns about the bill Campfield agreed to let the bill be sent back to the Education Committee.

The measure would cut welfare benefits for parents if their children fail in the classroom.

It would cut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits by 30 percent if a child fails to advance to the next grade level.

The bill allows for parents to earn back the money if they attend two conferences with teachers, take parenting classes or enroll their children in tutoring programs or summer school.

During the debate a number of lawmakers said they supported the aims of Campfield's bill, but questioned specifics in it and raised concerns about legal challenges.

The House Government Operations Committee had voted 8-4 earlier this week to recommend a positive vote for a companion bill in the House.

Gov. Bill Haslam's office has said the governor has serious concerns about the legislation.

Sending a bill back to committee for study is a procedure often taken when lawmakers don't wish to kill a bill outright.

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