After nearly 23,000 Missouri children lose temporary public assistance, Sen. Jake Hummel and Rep. Jon Carpenter file legislation to fix 2015 law

  

Since 2016, Missouri has saved zero dollars while tens of thousands of children have been removed from temporary assistance programs, new data shows

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Senator Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) and State Representative Jon Carpenter (D-Kansas City) have filed legislation to fix problems created by a controversial 2015 law that has saved the state zero dollars despite removing nearly 23,000 children from temporary assistance.

“The promises made when this law was passed have been broken. At the time, the sponsors promised that children would not be hurt and that state tax dollars would be saved. Instead, tens of thousands of Missouri children are hurting and not a single penny of taxpayer dollars has been saved. The damage done to Missouri’s children is worse than anybody ever imagined. This is wrong, and it must be fixed,” Sen. Hummel said. “My legislation is an opportunity for legislators to come together in a bipartisan way and fix a problem that is hurting children throughout the state.”

“When legislators in Jefferson City make a mistake that hurts people, those legislators have a responsibility to fix it,” said Rep. Carpenter. “The law passed in 2015 was a mistake, and it’s hurting children. That’s why I am calling on those who wrote this legislation, and those who voted for it, to help fix it now. It’s time these legislators put politics aside and do what’s right for Missouri’s children.”

In 2015, some members of the Missouri General Assembly passed Senate Bill 24, sponsored by Sen. David Sater (R-Cassville) and Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton), modifying provisions of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This legislation was vetoed by then-Governor Jay Nixon, but that veto was not sustained.

At the time, the bill’s sponsor in the House claimed “the kids are not cut off.” Other analyses estimated that the impact of this legislation would be to remove an estimated 6,400 needy children from temporary assistance, including more than 2,600 children under the age of five.

In reality, the damage done to Missouri children has been much worse.

According to new data from the Missouri Department of Social Services, under Senate Bill 24, at least 22,903 children have been completely removed from the temporary public assistance program, including 10,982 children under the age of five.

In response to the new and disturbing information provided by DSS, Sen. Hummel has filed Senate Bill 937 and Rep. Jon Carpenter has filed House Bill 2708 to repeal the misguided 2015 law so that the tens of thousands of children who have been harmed can get back on the path to a safe and healthy childhood.

A copy of the data provided by the Missouri Department of Social Services is attached.

A transcript of a House debate on Senate Bill 24 from 2015 is attached.