The New Hampshire Senate
Republican Majority Office
Bill would prohibit welfare dollars for gambling, tobacco, or alcohol
Concord, NH – Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) today introduced legislation aimed at curbing abuse of state-issued Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards (EBTs). The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing on SB 169 this afternoon. State law already prohibits the use of EBTs at state liquor stores, gambling establishments, and adult entertainment venues. Forrester’s bill would clarify that EBT recipients could not use cash from EBT cards to spend on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, lottery tickets, or adult entertainment.
“A recent audit of the state’s EBT program found that 78% of benefit funds were accessed as cash taken out of ATMs, leaving the program open to abuse,” Forrester said. “This legislation would tighten the sensible protections on EBT use to ensure that the benefits we’re providing to people in need are being used responsibly.”
Forrester sponsored similar legislation last year, which passed the Senate by a vote of 20-3 before being shelved by the House of Representatives. The bill builds on a provision in the 2013 budget law that restricted use of EBT cards.
“We have a responsibility to the taxpayers who are funding these critical public assistance programs, and to the program recipients to ensure that scarce resources aren’t being wasted,” Forrester added. “I’m hopeful that we can maintain the bipartisan consensus we built on this issue last year, and I ask my Senate colleagues for their support.”