Senator Gregory, under his constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate
Bill No. 712 and moved that the statement he made during the discussion of the bill be printed as his reasons for
The motion prevailed.
Senator Gregory's statement is as follows:
I rise in opposition to this bill because it puts the wrongly-conceived DHS policy of imposing an asset test for
food assistance in the statute. As three former budget directors who have worked for both Republican and
Democratic governors--these budget directors are Robert Emerson who worked under Governor Granholm, Don
Gilmer who worked under Governor Engler, and Mary Lannoye who worked under Governors Engler and
Granholm. They have all come together and have all stated that this is the wrong policy at the wrong time.
Many receiving food assistance are the newly jobless who have never had to avail themselves of government
assistance before. These households are more likely to have newer cars, houses they can't sell but also can't afford to
live in, and modest savings. An asset test forces people to choose between selling a car they might need for
transportation and feeding their family. Forcing people to liquidate their modest assets, namely any savings, also
hampers families from avoiding poverty for getting back on their financial feet.
With 900,000 households required to file documents on their assets, the paperwork alone will place a huge burden
on the DHS caseworkers, who already are assigned more than 900 cases each. Twenty-nine states do not apply an
asset test for food assistance because they recognize the important role assets play in ending poverty. With the
economic situation as it is in Michigan, we should not be one of the few states that impose this limitation now.
For all of these reasons, I rise in opposition to this bill and ask that you join me in voting "no."