House approves bill to cut welfare payments if kids persistently miss school

Mar 26, 2015

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Michigan families could lose their cash assistance if one or more of their children persistently miss school. That’s under a bill approved by the state House on Thursday.

The Michigan Department of Human Services already cuts off welfare payments due to child truancy. House Bill 4041 would put that policy into state law.

“The best defense we have against poverty is a good education. That can only happen, my friends, if a child is in school,” said bill sponsor Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville.

The legislation cleared the House easily with bipartisan support, although many Democrats voted in opposition. They say it could punish entire families for the actions of one child. And they say it’s not an effective way to fight truancy or poverty.

“This gives a rebellious child a lot of power. But it also punishes other family members when only one of the children is truant,” said state Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon.

The legislation now goes to the state Senate.