Bill Would Ban Welfare Debit-Card Use At Casinos - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bill Would Ban Welfare Debit-Card Use At Casinos

USATODAY.COM - Welfare recipients have long been banned from using their benefits for alcohol and tobacco. Lawmakers in some states are eying another vice — gambling — a move some advocates for the poor see as unnecessary and unfair.

Michigan legislators are debating a ban on using public assistance debit cards at ATMs in casinos. In June, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, issued an executive order banning the practice. Minnesota and Arizona also ban it.

"This money was intended to provide for basic needs for people who are truly in need," said Michigan state Sen. Bill Hardiman, a Republican who has sponsored the bill that would end the practice in his state. "The willingness to help drops substantially when these benefits are being abused." The Michigan Senate unanimously approved the bill this week and moved it to the House of Representatives, where it was referred to the Committee on Families and Children's Services.

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