ACTION ALERT EXTENDED! Protect victim access to TANF benefits! Ask legislators to OPPOSE HB 861 and SB 292 regarding drug testing for TANF applicants!
Posted on: 03.01.12
There is still time to contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and your Senators to protect victim access to TANF cash assistance!
House Bill 861 is now scheduled for committee hearing at 8 a.m. on Monday, Mar. 5.
Senate Bill 292 will be up for a vote on the Senate floor early during the week of Mar. 5.
Both of these bills would create additional barriers for domestic violence victims who seek to utilize this important short-term assistance as a stepping stone to becoming economically independent from their batterers. They would require all applicants for TANF cash assistance to pay for and pass drug screens as a condition of receiving benefits for themselves or their children.
- Contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee to explain how this bill will hurt domestic violence victims and their children, and then ask them to OPPOSE House Bill 861. Contact information for House Judiciary Committee members is listed below. While it is especially important for Committee members to hear from the domestic violence program in their area, we would like all programs to make at least one call to one of the Representatives on the Committee.
- Contact your Senators to explain how this bill will hurt domestic violence victims and their children, and then ask them to OPPOSE Senate Bill 292. You can find the names and contact information for the Senators representing your domestic violence program by visiting http://gcadv.org/what-we-do/public-policy/find-your-state-legislators/, finding your program listed alphabetically by city, and clicking on “Senators.” To find your own Senator, visithttp://www.votesmart.org
Additional information and talking points on these bills
- Economic security is closely linked to safety. Without access to money and resources, many victims find themselves forced to stay with or return to their batterers, thereby increasing their risk of further abuse and homicide. TANF cash assistance often serves as an important stepping stone out of the violence toward economic security for victims and their children.
- Cost burden to victims: Senate Bill 292 requires applicants to pay out of pocket for drug screens and be reimbursed later. Many victims do not have the money to pay for such screenings. House Bill 861 provides that the cost of the screens be deducted from the already meager monthly benefit.
- Transportation burden to victims: Victims in rural areas may face challenges with transportation to get to the drug screening location, particularly within the required timeframes (within 48 hours of approval, in SB 292.) For victims in shelter, the burden of transportation will likely fall on our already strained domestic violence programs.
- Time burden to victims: Victims fleeing abusive relationships are dealing with a number of issues, many requiring multiple appointments and court dates. Adding this unnecessary step of submitting a drug screen in order to receive benefits will serve as a deterrent to those who need this assistance the most.
- Co-occurence of domestic violence and substance abuse: Some battered women self-medicate with substances in order to cope with the abuse they have experienced. While it is important to help victims to recover from both their abuse and their addictions, depriving them and their children of the very assistance that will enable them to break free of abuse is not the best way to achieve these goals.
House Judiciary Committee
Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) 404.656.5125 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta) 404.656.0152 email@example.com
Stephen Allison (R-Blairsville) 404.656.0188 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) 404.656.5943 email@example.com
Joe Wilkinson (R-Atlanta) 404.463.8143 firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) 404.656.0314 email@example.com
Rick Crawford (D-Cedartown) 404.656.0265 firstname.lastname@example.org
Elly Dobbs (D-Atlanta) 404.656.7859 email@example.com
Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) 404.656.6372 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) 404.656.0109 email@example.com
Roger Lane (R-Darien) 404.656.5087 firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta) 404.656.5024 email@example.com
Billy Maddox (R-Zebulon) 404.656.3947 firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug McKillip (R-Athens) 404.656.0177 email@example.com
Randy Nix (R-LaGrange) 404.656.0177 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) 404.656.0265 email@example.com
Larry O’Neal (R-Bonaire) 404.656.5052 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Powell (R-Camilla) 404.656.7856 email@example.com
Pam Stephenson (D-Atlanta) 404.656.0126 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Welch (R- McDonough) 404.656.0109 email@example.com
Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold) 404.656.0152 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for taking time to protect victim access to this vital economic safety net!
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