BOSTON (AP) - State Senate leaders are calling for a crackdown on misuse of Electronic Welfare Benefit cards in Massachusetts, but are taking a different approach than the House.
A proposed state budget unveiled Wednesday by the Senate Ways and Means Committee would spend $750,000 to create a new state police unit responsible for investigating benefits fraud in Massachusetts. It would also for the first time impose criminal penalties on people who sell or transfer their food stamp benefits.
The budget would ban welfare recipients from using EBT cards for tattoo parlors, strip clubs, gambling or to post bail. The House budget includes a much lengthier list of banned EBT purchases, including cosmetics, jewelry, travel services, health clubs and firearms.
It's currently illegal to purchase alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets with EBT cards.