NY Senate advances bill to curb welfare spending

albany state capitol legislature

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York senators are advancing legislation to establish penalties for spending welfare funds on liquor, lottery tickets, cigarettes or strip clubs, saying there’s $125 million in federal funds at stake.

States that fail to take steps to curb using debit cards to get cash from ATMs at casinos and liquor stores by Feb. 22 face possible loss of federal aid.

Sen. Thomas Libous, a Binghamton Republican, says the Senate will again pass his bill, which died previously in the Assembly.

An Assembly spokesman says the change can be done administratively, and the Senate’s bill goes far beyond what federal law requires.

Troy restaurateur Sarah Fish, a former welfare recipient who stood with Libous Tuesday, says there’s little accountability in public assistance.

The bill’s sponsors say most recipients use assistance responsibly.

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