Bill Ends $3.50 Monthly Phone Discount for Low-Income Tennesseans

The House sent to Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday night a bill that eliminates a $3.50 per month discount that about 93,000 low-income Tennesseans now receive on their landline telephone bill.
The measure (SB1180) was approved by a 91-1 vote. The sole no vote came from Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, who said he approves of most provisions in the overall bill, but not the section impacting the “Lifeline” phone discount. House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said a $9.25 monthly federal discount for persons with low income will remain intact and that should be adequate.
Phone companies at one time were reimbursed by the federal government for the state-mandated discount as well, but that ended under legislation enacted by Congress last year.
The bill (SB1180), pushed by AT&T and other phone companies, was approved earlier by the Senate. It makes various other changes in state law that McCormick described as “obsolete.”

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