Wednesday, May 1, 2013

St. Sen. Drops Welfare & Grades Bill After Dismissing a Mother and her 8 Year Old That He Called a Prop

Oh, the power of video.
Tennessee Republican State Senator Stacey Campfield authored a bill this spring that would cut welfare benefits by 30 percent from children that did not perform well in school. Pretty draconian bill. Seems fair to say, child abuse, but the bill seemed headed to passage.
Then came two citizen lobbyists, a mother and her school-aged daughter. After the state senator refused to give them a fair audience and listen to any of their concerns, he walked away. The video is a pretty Cathy Black moment as he childishly mutters "children as props" repeatedly, as he attempts to leave them.
The real hero in this video is the girl, who speaks up and tells him, “I don’t like the way you take benefits from people.”
Some other moments of shameful conduct by the state senator, noted by writer Elizabeth Parker:
*When Fetuga pleaded,”I’m worried about the lights getting cut off,” the lawmaker chirped, “Well that won’t happen as long as you have a DECENT PARENT.” *When a man chided the state senator, “I’m ashamed of what you’ve been doing, I want you to know that,” Campfield turned on him and snarled, “Dude, you’re a union thug! I know exactly what you are.”

Well, the whole thing got caught on video. Several Republican senators spoke against the bill and its consequences; and he dropped his bill. Highlights from ThinkProgress' article on Campfield's meltdown and state senators' turnaround on the bill.
During the session, many of Campfield’s fellow Republicans stood up one by one to call the measure “troublesome” and express concern about the “unintended consequences” that could put children in danger. State Senator Doug Overbey (R) had a change of heart after hearing from teachers and the state’s Commission On Children And Youth:
I voted for the bill in the General Welfare committee because I thought it was a step in addressing a problem. Since that time, other information has come to my attention. First of all, there’s been comments about how folks in our educational system feel about it. Just this morning I got an email from a teacher in my district that said, ‘Teachers have expressed interest in some form of parent accountability but I can assure you this is not what they had in mind.’ Secondly, I found on my desk a letter from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth … a 2 1/4 page analysis of this legislation and ultimately urges voting against it.
Talk about trying to add some high stakes to a test! Scroll down the page: you can see a Youtube link for the video.