Sen. Valentino voted to support compromise on reasonable reform
AUGUSTA—In a 18-17 vote, the Senate approved an amended version of LD 1822 to prohibit the use of TANF money for tobacco products, liquor products, gambling activities, lotteries, and bail, and prohibited retailers and vendors from accepting TANF benefits to purchase these products.
“TANF money is intended to feed children and help put a roof over their heads. Parents who receive this help shouldn’t be taking those dollars to buy liquor and lottery tickets. It’s wrong,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash.
Not one Republican Senator voted in favor of the amended measure even though many touted the need prohibit the purchase of these items with TANF dollars.
"The original bill only prohibited the card user from purchasing these items, but our amended version takes it an extra step by expressly prohibiting the retailer from selling these items if a card is presented for payment." said Senator Linda Valentino who voted for the bill.
The amended version of LD 1822 also requires people who receive TANF to sign a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services promising not to use EBT cards for these items and requires DHHS to education people who receive TANF about these prohibitions.
“I sponsored this amendment for my constituents who told me we weren’t doing enough to address misuse,” said Senator John Patrick of Oxford. “We hear you; we understand and we agree that we need to do more to address your concerns.”
The amended bill faces further votes in the House and the Senate.
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