Maine Legislators Unanimously Pass Bill Banning the Use of EBT Cash Purchases For Alcohol, Lottery Tickets, and Cigarettes

Posted: Apr 16, 2016 7:45 PM

The Maine legislature has unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit the use of EBT cash funds for alcohol, tobacco, firearms, pornography, vacations, and lottery tickets, among other things. The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Paul LePage, who thrust the issue of reforming welfare into the spotlight during his campaigns for governor.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Nate Libby (D-Lewiston).

“This bill finally gives Mainers what they’ve wanted: Meaningful welfare reform the focuses assistance on helping families get out of poverty while ensuring accountability at the cash register,” said Libby. “Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to buy these sorts of products, and Mainers have been surprised to know these kinds of purchases weren’t prohibited before. I want to thank my colleagues for committing to work past our differences and, finally, reach a compromise.”

House Republicans said they've been fighting to address the alleged abuse for the past six years while Senate Democrats said Friday's passage was the result of more than 16 months of negotiations between both chambers and Governor Paul LePage.

To echo Libby's words, it's absolutely insane that money that's intended to help struggling families could be spent on frivolous luxuries like alcohol, porn, and vacations. Maine taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for someone's trip to Disney. Kudos to Maine's legislators for coming to a compromise and helping to put a stop to this practice.