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California may repeal ‘welfare queen’ law

California may repeal ‘welfare queen’ law
February 23, 2015

California Democrats are calling for the repeal of a law that bars families from receiving increases to their welfare checks if they give birth to an additional child while on benefits. [Sac Bee]
Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles says the law is based on the pejorative concept of a “welfare queen,” who has babies in order to collect more cash. Mitchell has authored Senate Bill 23, which calls for the repeal of California’s welfare limit rule.
Mitchell said the existing law was crafted to discourage welfare recipients from having children. Rather than accomplishing that, the rule helped California achieve the nation’s highest poverty rate, she said.
“It is a classist, sexist, anti-democratic, anti-child, anti-family policy whose premise did not come to fruition,” Mitchell said. “It did not accomplish what it set out to accomplish. So it’s appropriate to take it off the books.”
If the “maximum family grant” rule is appealed, families receiving welfare benefits would be eligible to collect about $130 a month per child. The change is welfare rules would cost the state about $205 million in the first year, according to a budget analysis prepared last year.
Mitchell has twice before tried unsuccessfully to repeal the welfare limit law, but she now has support from a host of organizations and from Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon.
Senate Republic Leader Bob Huff opposes the effort to overturn the welfare rule. Huff said the $200 million should go to a better use, like job training or childcare for working mothers.
Other opponents of Mitchell’s bill say that reinstating the $130 monthly payments will not lift welfare recipients out of poverty.