The House has voted to create a new legislative committee to study the state’s programs to help low-income Missourians, but not all lawmakers think it’s necessary.
The proposal from Representative Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) would create a new House-Senate Joint Committee on Public Assistance. Franklin says she wants to do a thorough investigation of public assistance programs and project their growth.
“What we want to achieve is accurate information to help as many people as we want to. We are compassionate but we also believe in accountability and fiscal responsibility,” said Franklin.
Democrats including Tracy McCreery (D-St. Louis) accuse Republicans of trying to appear compassionate after passing a bill carried by Franklin last year, over a governor’s veto, that shortened how long people could be on assistance.
“We tried to bring it up, the numbers were ignored, you specifically said that our numbers weren’t accurate, and now we’ve got six-plus thousand children that have gone
hungry because of things that we’ve done in this body last year,” McCreery told Franklin.
Representiave Bonnaye Mims (D-Kansas City) said the panel isn’t needed.
“You’ve got people that know this information. You’ve got people that can give you everything that you’re asking,” Mims said to Franklin.
Franklin said the new committee could spend more time on, and be more thorough in reviewing, those social programs, potentially helping more Missourians that need it.
“You have the time to do it, you can bring in the people that you need to talk to, review information, collect information, and put together good policy,” said Franklin.
The proposal is part of a bill in conference between the House and Senate.