|Updated: 2/15 11:54 am
||Published: 2/15 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.