A package of legislation aimed at cracking down on people abusing public aid and wasting taxpayer dollars, spearheaded by State Sen. Chapin Rose, was officially killed March 28 at the Statehouse by Chicago Democrats.
The two Democrats on the Senate Subcommittee on Special Issues, State Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), voted against Rose’s measures.
“When the Democrats sent this reform package to subcommittee weeks ago to die, I demanded a vote,” Rose said. “I wasn’t going to let them quietly get away with letting this die. I wanted them on record opposing common sense. These ultra-liberals are now officially on the record for killing legislation that would save taxpayer dollars, while at the same time, enabling waste, fraud, and abuse of the public aid rolls.”
The package of three bills would have required drug testing for welfare, photo IDs on Link cards (to prevent them for being traded for drugs, cash, or worse), and the suspension of benefits for fugitives from justice.
“During the subcommittee debate, I was even called ‘mean-spirited’ for bringing these bills forward,” Rose said. “If being ‘mean-spirited’ means saving taxpayer dollars in a common-sense manner – especially during a financial catastrophe that is the state of Illinois, then so be it. This is just another example in the long list that show Chicago Democrats have no interest in wanting to fix anything.”
SB 1708 would have required an individual pass a drug test before being eligible to receive public aid. In addition, for recipients to continue receiving public aid, they must pass random drug tests prescribed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
SB 1709 would have required those who use a Link card (cash assistance card), to have their photo on the card.
SB 1710 would have implemented a system where the Illinois State Police’s outstanding warrant database would be cross-referenced with the state’s public aid recipients database. An individual’s benefits would be suspended if he or she is a fugitive of the law.
“This package should have been common-sense legislation,” Rose said. “It brings accountability back to the public aid rolls and saves taxpayer dollars. With all the troubles this state is having, it is time the Democrats realize that their perpetuation of the problem is destroying the very fabric of our Illinois.”