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Ritchie seeks support for online petition seeking to stop EBT use at liquor stores, casinos

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ALBANY - State Senator Patty Ritchie is urging the public to join her fight against welfare abuse by signing an online petition to stop the use of EBT benefit cards in liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment businesses.

Her call comes as the State Senate passed a bill—for the third time in as many years—that prohibits the use of those businesses off-limits for using welfare cards. Senator Ritchie is a cosponsor of that bill (S.966).

“Welfare benefits are intended to help those who have fallen on hard times, to feed their families and make ends meet, and taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to buy booze, cigarettes and lottery tickets,” Senator Ritchie said.

The Senator’s “Public Assistance Integrity Act” would prohibit the use of welfare benefits to buy alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets, and bars the use of EBT benefit cards in liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment businesses.

New York faces a deadline and the loss of more than $100 million in federal aid for needy families if it doesn’t take steps to crack down on EBT card abuse, which has been the subject of several recent news stories that showed how some welfare recipients are abusing their benefits.

More than a dozen states already have passed similar bans, and Gov. Cuomo recently joined the effort, including a ban in his new Executive Budget. “This common sense reform has bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature, but the Assembly needs to act,” added Senator Ritchie.

To access Senator Ritchie’s petition, visit her website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.

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