New York state lawmakers are urging people to sign petitions in favor of a long-stalled bill that would ban public assistance from being spent on alcohol, lap dances and cigarettes, according to a story by Kate Briquelet for The New York Post.
The Public Assistance Integrity Act would also ban welfare recipients from using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at liquor stores, casinos and adult-entertainment venues.
“We’re talking about . . . putting food on the table and not frittering away [benefits] on things like alcohol and cigarettes,” said Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, a Republican in western New York state.
The bill passed the Senate twice but is said to be stalled in the Assembly by Democratic leaders.
And the clock is ticking. According to a federal mandate, each state must pass welfare reforms by February 2014 or lose out on federal funding—$125 million in the case of New York.
But the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, has said he has had assurances that the ban can be passed administratively. “We know we’re up against a deadline in order to adhere to the federal guidelines,” he said. “I have assurances that it’s being done.”
Category: Breaking News