Do You Agree With Bates? EBT Cards Should Not Buy Booze, Smokes
Sen. David Bates of Barrington and East Providence has introduced a bill to ban the use of public cash assistance for alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets.
Sen. David Bates of Barrington and Riverside doesn’t think recipients of public assistance should be able to use the cash to buy alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets.
“Cash assistance programs are wonderful for the people that are really in need of it, but for people who want a gallon of ice cream and a filet mignon every night, that‘s not right,” Bates said in a story that aired on WPRI-TVbout the widespread use of EBT cards at bars and taverns.
Bates is pushing a bill in the Senate that would make it harder for recipients to use their EBT cards to drink or smoke or gamble. He said he modeled his bill after similar legislation that was passed in Massachusetts.
Even if Bates’ bill doesn’t become a law, all states have until next year to begin enforcing the federal restrictions or they risk losing funding for cash assistance programs, according to WPRI-TV.
Bates said his goal is to focus on enforcing the law on retailers, not recipients.
“If the feds aren’t going to do anything about it, we’re going to try,” Bates said. “This gives Rhode Island a chance to get in the mix and get the State Police involved.”