Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas, is considering a bill that was passed by both houses of the Kansas legislature which would prevent welfare recipients from spending welfare money on certain entertainment. It would also limit ATM withdrawals to $25 per day.
The law would prevent people on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program from spending the money on body piercings, massages, tobacco, lingerie, arcades, cruises, psychics or theme parks.
According to State Senator Michael O’Donnell, who spoke with the Topeka Capital-Journal, the law encourages people to spend welfare money “more responsibly.”
While many are unhappy with the proposal, certain aspects of the bill are already used in other states. According to FiveThirtyEight, federal law requires all states to ban using welfare money on gambling, adult entertainment or at liquor stores. Massachusetts also prohibits recipients from using the funds on cruises.
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O’Donnell, who is on the Kansas committee on public health and welfare, explained, “We're trying to make sure those benefits are used the way they were intended. This is about prosperity. This is about having a great life.”
The main point of contention is the $25 restriction on ATM withdrawals. The point of this clause is to prevent funds from being used inappropriately, but detractors of the bill point out that welfare recipients could have a hard time paying rent.
State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau said that many of her constituents do not have bank accounts and have to pay rent in cash. FiveThirtyEight points out that removing $25 per day from the ATM would cost users up to $2.10 per transaction.
Governor Brownback’s spokesperson said that he would review the bill carefully before he signed it.