Part 2 Legislative Keiki Caucus Seeks to Protect and Provide Federal Funding

“In times such as these, coming together is crucial and that is what we have here,” said House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan.

“I see firsthand how lives change for the better because of the intervention that we provide,” said Mary Scott Lau, Executive Director of Women in Need, a nonprofit organization focused on stabilizing the family unit and a TANF funding recipient.

“The Keiki Caucus is committed to investing in programs that help give keiki and families in tough situations a better chance for a brighter tomorrow. The programs represented here today are examples of providing a brighter tomorrow,” said Keiki Caucus Co-Chair and Senate Human Services Committee Chair Suzanne Chun Oakland.

“As the Co-Chairs of the Keiki Caucus, we have introduced legislation to dedicate the federal funding to these needed programs that help people get jobs and keep healthy families together,” added Keiki Caucus Co-Chair and House Human Services Committee Chair John Mizuno.

Senate Bill 1666, which details how the Legislature will spend the federal TANF funds, is scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Human Services committee at 2:45 p.m. today in Conference Room 016. House Bill 739 will be heard February 5th at 8:15 a.m. in Conference Room 329.

“I understand that the legislature wants to ensure that there is money reserved for cash payments for those who qualify for public assistance in the future. The Administration can support that decision,” said State Human Services Director Lilian Koller.

“My experience in the Peace Corps suggest the best poverty reduction programs is teaching people how to fish and that is exactly with TANF funds do,” said House Finance Committee member Gene Ward.

At the end of Fiscal Year 2008, the TANF Reserve Fund’s balance stood at $78.9 million. The state receives $98.9 million in TANF federal funds each year.

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