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State house bill looks to change Lifeline phone program

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Updated: 2/15/2013 11:54 am Published: 2/15/2013 11:53 am

Legislation approved unanimously by a House committee would tighten the restrictions on receiving free landline phone service through a federal government program.

House Bill 2165, by state Rep. Jon Echols, was approved 8-0 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services.

“The federal Lifeline program was originally created to provide free landline phone service to the poor and elderly, but the program has changed into a classic example of the ‘something-for-nothing’ mentality that is bankrupting our country,” said Echols, R-Oklahoma City.

Echols said his intent is to improve the accountability of the program.

FOX23’s Janna Clark has done a series of investigative stories on the program, beginning 10 months ago.

“The Lifeline cell phone program has virtually no accountability. There is no process to confirm the recipients of these phones are actually qualified under the program. There are no safeguards to stop people from getting multiple free phones. There’s no meaningful way to stop people from reselling them,” Echols said.

“It is hard to understand why the Lifeline cell phone program exists, but there is no justification not to immediately stop the blatant government waste of giving the same person multiple free phones. The taxpayers deserve better and that is why I introduced House Bill 2165.”

The legislation now advances to the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

cyndi6855 - 5/22/2013 8:50 AM
0 Votes
You are going to find people who abuse the system whereever you go, but my mother who is 85 uses the pone so if she falls, her ar breaks down or gets lost she can get home. Homeless people trying to gt their life on track can use it for job notifications. It saddens me that Echols is so out of touch with a significant portion of Oklahomans that he says he doesn't understand the eason for the program.

numero uno mom - 2/15/2013 6:52 PM
0 Votes
I know numerous people that have a minimum of 2 or 3 of these free phones and it sickens me!! These people are using the phones for selling drugs and committing crimes. These companies need to do more extensive research before just giving these low lifes phones. This program was intended to help HONEST people getting assistance and this program needs overhauled ASAP!!

dukshanee - 2/15/2013 1:36 PM
0 Votes
I'm sick at looking at these free cell phone huts everywhere, u see nothing but thugs,hood rats and hobos standing in line for that free phone the tax payers are paying for
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