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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mass. Legislators Overrules Governor to Bar Welfare From Being Spent on Vices

Massachusetts state legislators have made it harder to spend welfare dollars on goods like alcohol and beauty supplies over the objections of their governor.

The state House and Senate agreed on provisions prohibiting the expenditure of cash benefits, via a credit card-like EBT card that also holds food stamps, or certain items, like tattoos, and at certain establishments, like liquor stores, in late June, but Gov. Deval Patrick objected and amended the bill. (Click here for House bill.)

“I’ve had to drag our governor kicking and screaming all the way. … He took out all the items we prohibited: guns, jewelry. We also prohibited it at those stores. He took out nail shops,” said Shaunna O'Connell, a House Republican on the Ways and Means Committee who has led calls for, and has been repeatedly frustrated in, reforming the way welfare money is handed out.

His reasoning for reinstating them, she said, was along the lines of: “A woman may need to get her nails done for a job interview.”


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