SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Along with alcohol, cigarettes and pet food, low-income parents are banned from using food stamps to buy diapers, leaving many families struggling to pay the estimated $100 a month it costs for the basic necessity.
California Assemblywoman and single mother Lorena Gonzalez wants to change that thanks to some inspiration from rapper Eminem.
“Cause man, these food stamps don’t buy diapers,” he raps in a song.
There’s truth in that statement, inspiring the Democrat from San Diego to create a bill that would give qualifying families in the CalWork’s welfare program $80 a month to spend on diapers for children under age 2.
No U.S. welfare program currently covers the cost of diapers.
“We know the number one barrier to moms going back to the workforce is childcare,” Gonzalez said. “If you don’t have an adequate supply of diapers and can’t take your child to child care there’s no way you can get a job.”
Principal consultant Jolie Onodera told the Sacramento Bee the bill would impact more than 120,000 children in the state if it were to pass.
But Republicans are knocking the bill down, stressing the $100 million annual cost to taxpayers for a short-term solution.
“Instead of expanding our welfare system and keeping millions dependent upon government, we should implement business-friendly policies enabling those out of work to obtain a job and provide for their families,” Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove from Bakersfield said in an email statement to the Bee.
“They shouldn’t keep having babies if they can’t afford diapers,” said Tara Riley, who supports the bill — just not the decision to have more children if you can’t afford it.
Advocates for the bill disagree, saying parents can’t hold a job if they can’t send their children to daycare, which require a day’s worth of disposable diapers.
AB 1516 already passed out of the California Assembly and is now on its way to the state Senate Committee on Appropriations where it awaits a vote.