The Alabama Senate passed a package of welfare reform legislation on Wednesday, including a bill prohibiting welfare recipients from spending public assistance benefits in certain ways.
Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, would prohibit welfare recipients from spending public assistance benefits on alcohol and tobacco, and at strip clubs and gambling facilities. According to reports from other states, millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded public assistance funds have been spent on alcohol, tobacco and at casinos and strip clubs.
“It is a serious exploitation of a well-intended program, and quite frankly a slap in the face to taxpayers, for these public dollars to be used in such a way that is 180 degrees opposite of the program’s intent,” Orr said. “This kind of abuse shows a complete disregard for those who are genuinely in need.”
Several other welfare reform bills passed by the Senate on Wednesday including:
• SB63, sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, which allows for drug testing in instances where welfare applicants have a prior drug conviction.
• SB87, sponsored by Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, which requires able-bodied adult food stamp recipients without dependents to participate in at least 20 hours of work, job training or community service a week within three months of obtaining benefits.
• SB114, sponsored by Sen. Orr, which makes it a crime to defraud many state and federal government-funded assistance programs like Medicaid, Social Security, food assistance and public housing.
• SB115, sponsored by Sen. Orr, which would require welfare applicants to apply for at least three jobs before receiving benefits
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