SACRAMENTO -- State lawmakers on Friday shelved dozens of bills for the year because of their high cost, including a measure that would have allowed families on welfare to get additional aid if they continue to have more children.
Current law prohibits an increase in CalWORKs aid based on the birth of an additional child, if the family has received assistance for at least 10 months before the birth.
Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) introduced legislation that would expressly prohibit the denial of aid for a child born into the family of a CalWORKs recipient, but it was one of 49 pieces of legislation sidelined for the year by the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
“My heart sank,” Mitchell said after the panel acted. “Our experience could not be clearer that we have to invest in young children to improve their outcome.” She said it was ironic that her bill was shelved a day after an Assembly panel voted to allocate $315 million more for prisons.
Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), the chairman of the panel, said he supports the bill on its merits. “I think we need to end discrimination against children of CalWORKs recipients,” De Leon said.
But AB 271 was shelved, he said, because it could add $220 million in annual costs to a budget that was balanced with some difficulty.
The committee did pass a measure that would increase the minimum wage in California, but sent it to the Assembly Rules Committee for further negotiations to address opposition from groups including the California Chamber of Commerce.
Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) still hopes his bill can be approved this year, said spokeswoman Marva Diaz. “We are still having conversations.” The minimum wage, now $8 an hour, would gradually increase by $2 over five years under AB 10.