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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Bill to cut off welfare for families with truant children clears state Senate

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Larry Darling
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Flickr http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

State lawmakers have taken another step to revoke cash assistance from families with kids who persistently miss school.

The state Senate approved the bill on Tuesday with a 26-12 vote.

“The whole goal here is to make sure children are in school because they will succeed and they will have the chance to move ahead with their lives if they are in school,” said state Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) already uses the policy to try to prevent chronic school truancy. House Bill 4041 would cement the policy in state law.

Democrats and some Republicans oppose the bill.

“We’re supposed to have a war on poverty, not a war on the poor. And that’s what this is,” said state Sen. Coleman Young, D-Detroit.

“While I understand the sponsor’s goal of promoting responsible parenting and reducing absenteeism, I find it too severe to punish an entire family for the actions of one child,” said state Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit.

The state House approved the legislation in March, but it must approve some minor changes made in the Senate before the bill can go to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

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