House Bill 167 — “Welfare Reform”
by Pat Clifford
Published in Cincinnati Homeless Grapevine, a precursor to Streetvibes
During the past month, many welfare recipients and homeless people from Cincinnati went to Columbus to speak before the House Finance Committee about HB167. Although they believed the bill was not optimal, they felt it was not as bad as it could have been because it did not include many of the more restrictive measures other states have instituted.
When the bill was passed by committee, punitive Norplant provisions and mandatory drug testing had been removed. Next, the bill went to the full House.
There, on the House floor, the “Cave Man Caucus” of conservative legislators proposed a number of reactionary amendments including two-year mandatory time limits, family caps,, and education exclusions.
Unexpectedly, all Republicans and some Democrats voted for every one of the measures, and in a wave of reactionary fervor passed one of the most restrictive welfare plans in the country.
The debate now moves to the Senate, and Cincinnati welfare recipients and homeless people are working hard to educate Senators on the life-issues faced by people on public assistance.
Lynn Dinnen, welfare recipient and working mother, said at the Senate hearing on June 22, “These cuts will hurt little children like mine. I’ve worked all my life and am looking for full-time employment. I need help now. This bill will hurt me and my child.”