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Strippers, booze and slots soon to be off-limits for welfare recipients

by Dara Kam | April 26th, 2013

Florida welfare recipients won’t be allowed to use state-issued debit cards at strip joints, liquor stores or casinos under a bill on its way to Gov. Rick Scott, who is certain to approve the measure.

The Florida Senate unanimously approved the measure with no debate this morning.

House sponsor Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness, says the bill (HB 701) is needed to comply with a federal law banning the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or “TANF,” at liquor stores, gambling locales or places that specialize in adult entertainment, including porn shops. Smith said needs to act before Feb. 14 or risk losing out on 5 percent of the funds for the program.

The bill (HB 701) which bans the state’s poorest-of-the-poor from using the debit cards at liquor stores, adult entertainment establishments – including porn shops – and other gaming establishments.

“This is a victory for Florida taxpayers who can now know that their hard-earned tax dollars are truly being used to help needy families get back on their feet so they can become independent and self-sufficient,” Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins said in a statement.

The federal “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012” requires states to maintain policies to prevent cash assistance “from being used in any electronic benefit transfer transaction in any liquor store; any casino, gambling casino, or gaming establishment; or any retail establishment which provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.”

TANF recipients receive debit cards, or “EBTs,” which they can use to get cash from ATMs or to make purchases. Unlike food stamps, there are no restrictions on what items can be bought with the cards.

A year before the federal law was passed, a Florida representative proposed similar restrictions in response to a television expose, later substantiated by state officials, that found that of 1.3 million transactions totaling nearly $202 million over a two-year period in Florida, about $93,000 was drawn at places with liquor licenses, strip clubs or gambling sites.

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29 Responses to “Strippers, booze and slots soon to be off-limits for welfare recipients”

  1. drewsco Says:

    POSTURING 101 !!!!!!!!!

  2. Termack Says:

    I think I’ll go get myself a drink at a strip bar, play some poker and scoff at the poor people. What a great day to be a “real American”.

  3. Bill Neubauer Says:

    Yebbut who is going to enforce it and how?
    There is extant a story about recipients buying ONE GRAPE and taking their change in cash, which they can spend ANYWHERE.
    Will passage of the law really change anything?

  4. Diver4life Says:

    I am glad they are putting a stop to this, but let’s actually look at the figures. .00046% of money distributed was drawn at such locations. That means 99.99954% was not. I can see why the governor and his chronies are saying why welfare should be abolished..Morons.

  5. Diver4life Says:

    I am curious on how much it cost to enforce this reform. I am willing to bet it is alot more than 93,000 over a 2 year period. It cost more to put the bill together.

  6. Termack Says:

    @ Neubauer,
    The only logical thing to do is to ban grapes, right?

  7. Mike Says:

    Sounds like some common since to me! I mean if you can afford stripers, porn, alcohol and gambling do you really need federal assistance??? NO

    Amazingly it took a threat from the federal government to make this happen. I find something wrong with this… why would our federal government risk upsetting their voter base?

  8. Tea Lady Says:

    This should include ALL forms of welfare entitlement $pending: $ocial $ecurity, free cheese recipients, medicaid, free cellphone recipients, medicare, “disability” for being lazy, free housing recipients, “unemployment” for the lay-abouts, etc..

    Let’s Get to Work! =)

  9. 2CENTS Says:


  10. Real american Says:

    Let’s recognize most moochers are republican.

  11. Dawn Says:

    Why in the world were they allowed to do this in the first place??? Come on!!!

  12. kr Says:

    I mentioned this article to my boss and he says strippers are a necessity of life. Um…ok.

  13. Corporate America Says:

    Hey fools,
    Look….! poor people tryin to take your money.

  14. Diver4life Says:

    Tea Lady, You are right, let’s get to work. How many jobs can you provide. How many jobs can your tea party members provide?

  15. Jupiter Guy Says:

    Maybe we should ban strippers, drugs, and booze from our elected officials. They are already brain dead, so they won’t need the perks of the offices they hold.

  16. rob Peter to pay Paul Says:

    So they cant use it for that, so they you use it where they can like the grocery store, then they use any extra money to buy booze, strippers, and play slots. Im making a completely uninformed guess here, but I would suspect alot of these people or someone within their household work for unreported cash money too. The people that really really need and DESERVE assistance would never use it on this crap anyways.

  17. Really? Says:

    Why do they get a debit card? Make them go to a local location to get a bag of food and necessary basic supplies. Don’t give them free $$ to do what they want with. If they want $$ to do what they want, they can get a job and work hard for it like the good people who actually contribute to society. This enabling system is going to be the downfall of America.

  18. PBCnative Says:

    @tealady-Why do you continue to comment? EVERY time you do, it just shows how ignorant you are. How in the hell is Social Security & Medicare: WELFARE ENTITLEMENT?? I don’t know about you, but I’ve worked since I was 15 years old; contributing to SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE FROM EVERY PAYCHECK I’VE EARNED. If I’ve paid into SS & Medicare all my working life, Damn right I’m going to draw on it when I’m entitled to. The only sense of ‘entitlement’ here is people like you who live off the system and apply rules & laws when it benefits you or your situation. Imposing your will or beliefs onto everyone else (eliminating free will and the right to choose what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms, with their bodies and how they worship) is a form of Communism. Brush up on your history, girlfriend. What a bunch of hypocrites the members of the Tea Pary are.

    P.S. The percentage of welfare recepients spending $$ on gambling, booze & stippers is so small; the enforcement of this ‘law’ will cost more than it will save. Just like the drug testing of welfare receipients-FAIL! Less than 1/2 of a percent of welfare recepients tested positive for drug use, but Rick Snott’s walk-in clinics provided the drug testing ‘services’. He must have his hand in this pie somehow.

  19. PBCnative Says:

    @Really-They DON’T get a debit card-it’s called an EBT card and their benefits are loaded onto the card to buy FOOD only. There are establishments that unlawfully allow the use of EBT cards to buy booze; and other obviously allow use of the cards for gambling and lap dances. The crackdown needs to be on the businesses, not the welfare recepients. If businesses wouldn’t let them use the cards for things other than what they were meant for (food) this wouldn’t be happening. Another bonehead ‘law’ from our Republican lead state government. Idiots.

  20. registered independent Says:

    This is what the republicans do. Distract us with this nonsense (school prayer, 2nd amendment, death row etc). Then, once it office they rip off the average Floridian. Sell us out to the insurance industry, private for profit schools and prisons, and screw the environment. Feel good legislation that accomplishes nothing. One part rule in Florida forever!

  21. Roger Says:

    Why should I pay for welfare recipients to use my tax dollar to go to strip clubs. Buy liquor or cigarettes for that matter. This law is way overdue. I am tired of paying for poor people who refuse to try and better themselves.

  22. Cheeseus Sonofdog Says:

    What a solution! Now, the deadbeat will just remember to stop at the 7-11 atm on the way over to the strip club. The real problem is that we give cash assistance. That needs to end completely.

    And we also need to reform the food stamp program. I am sick of seeing the person in front of me loaded up with expensive snacks and sodas and the pull out their ebt card. It’s time to bring back the government cans of peanut butter and beans. Take what we give you or starve.

  23. YOU MORONS! Says:

    @PBCnative are you really need to know what your talking about before you attack someone else. There are people who get EBT cards for food & ALSO a debit card for CASH! YES they get cold hard cash from our pockets! It’s didgusting & they need to get jobs. I really LOVE seeing a social security card come accross my desk that says “NOT ELIGIBLE FOR EMPLOYMENT” means they are allowed to have food stamps, cash & houseing. But NOT allowed to work in the US. I believe if you can’t work here you need to GO HOME!!!!!!!

  24. Jeremy Says:

    This makes no sense from an enforcement stanpoint. Who is going to determine who’s a slut? Is there going to criteria? I can see prohibiting booze and strippers. That’s more straight forward.

  25. cleanup Says:

    @PBCnative – Call it whatever you want, EBT, ABC, 123…if it works like a debit/credit card, then guess what? It is a debit/credit card. We’re not talking about honest people here or there wouldn’t be a problem. But this new law is just another feather fluffer from the Thief Governor. They have to find out who, what & where, then actually make someone accountable for it to work. Like cut off the recipient for life and hit the establishments where it hurts, so they won’t want to take the chance. It would take a lot of work to enforce this law, so that’s not going to happen. Like I said, it’s just a feather fluffer that makes the Republicans feel great about themselves.

  26. Tea Lady Says:

    Sorry, but if you receive money through any means from the government, then you are receiving welfare entitlement hand-outs!

    That definition is easy to remember and easy to apply. No one is “entitled” to the money that is forcibly taken from others (through taxes, assessments, fees, etc.).

    Join The Tea Party! We will put an end to these “entitlements” .. and the “entitlement attitude” that comes with them.

  27. Jupiter Guy Says:

    So tealady, are you going to renounce your social security and medicare when you hit retirement age, or will you be the hypocrite we expect and demand every payment you feel you deserve?

  28. Kevin Says:

    Hard to believe spending public assistance funds on such things was ever ok. Makes me wonder why it took so ling to ban this. Could it be that the lobbyist’s for these bars, liquor stores and casino’s paid our legislators to look the other way?

  29. Rene Says:

    There are more restrictions on how I use my OWN MONEY in my Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) than there are on how welfare recipients use OTHER people’s money. This bill only addresses a small portion of the fraud, waste and abuse of the welfare system, but it is a start.

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