First-Time Ever California Diaper Bill Stalled? - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

First-Time Ever California Diaper Bill Stalled?

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A lot of people were holding their breaths today. Proponents of Assembly Bill 1516 were hoping the CA Senate Appropriations Committee would vote to move the so-called "diaper bill" to the Assembly and Senate for a vote on giving the state's parents on welfare a $80 each month to help them buy diapers. But, the committee voted to "hold it on submission," which basically means it'll sit there unless there is some major move the change it's status. And, with the legislative session ending soon it could languish and see no action.

Those who favor what would be the first such state legislation in the country say new moms of all ages who depend on welfare don't get enough money to pay for disposable diapers. And, according to the rules, food stamps and WIC subsidies may not be used for diapers. But, not all welfare moms are 20 or 30-something. Mary Rose is 78 and is "mommy" to two little ones. She's 71 years old. Her husband died 3 years ago. Her grand-daughter ran off and left the her two kids behind a year ago. Mary Rose, their grandma, suddenly became their mom. She lives at the LA Family Housing Transitional Center. It's one of many centers that get diapers for it's residents from LA Diaper Drive and Baby buggy. She says if that didn't happen "it would really bad. it would be very bad." She couldn't afford them, but wouldn't let the kids sit in dirty diapers. She says she'd make diapers out of dishrags or something.

Caroline Kunitz started LA Diaper Drive to help needy moms young and old. She says she's "disappointed" in the Senate Appropriations Committee's inaction. She says "A third of all moms in LA and around the country are struggling to provide enough diapers for their babies. Last year, her organization donated some 3 million diapers and even that, she say, was not enough. The stress on welfare moms when they don't have diapers can be intense. She says "It's incredibly stressful and a Yale study that came out last year showed that maternal mental health problems are increased when you don't have diapers and child abuse goes up when you don't have diapers."

On the other side of the debate is Bakersfield/Kern County Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove. She doesn't believe the state should buy mothers diapers and totally opposes the diaper bill effort, which right now seems to have come to a screeching halt. Kunitz and others hope the bill will get a new breath of life if not this session maybe next. Mary Rose says, "If they were in this situation that we are in... maybe they'd change their mind about everything."

 

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