Capitol Alert

Effort to repeal California ‘welfare queen’ law done for the year

Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, talks during an informational hearing on gun laws at the Capitol on Jan. 29, 2013.
Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, talks during an informational hearing on gun laws at the Capitol on Jan. 29, 2013. hamezcua@sacbee.com

State Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, has suspended her latest bid to reverse a law barring families that conceive additional children while on welfare from receiving increases to their grant.

Mitchell said she would not continue forward this year with Senate Bill 23 to repeal a law Mitchell contends perpetuates the negative concept of the “welfare queen,” a woman who has babies while on welfare to collect more cash assistance. Mitchell’s bill is currently awaiting a vote on the Assembly floor, and she said she would instead push to get the policy into next year’s budget.

“How would we pay for it?” Mitchell said. “Because of the huge price tag, I’m going to continue working with the administration during the interim.”

Overturning the “maximum family grant” would cost an estimated $205 million in the first year. SB 23 passed the Senate this spring, but its prospects dimmed when Gov. Jerry Brown left it out of the final budget deal in June.

Mitchell said she had not changed tactics out of concern that the bill would fail in the Assembly or be vetoed by Brown.

“I’m confident that they agree with the policy,” she said. “I will be waiting with bated breath for January 10,” she added, referring to the date by which Brown must release his budget proposal.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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