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Senate approves EBT card prohibitions


CONCORD — Granite Staters who receive public assistance are prohibited from using EBT cards or cash obtained with an EBT card for the purchase of non-essential items under legislation passed by the state Senate Thursday.

Senate Bill 203 would prohibit the use of EBT cards to gamble or to buy tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, firearms or adult entertainment.

The vote in favor of the bill was 20-3.

Sen. Molly Kelly, D-Keene, opposing it, said the bill exacerbated “perceptions” about low-income people, particularly, she said “that they are lazy.”

She said people on public assistance should be treated the same as anyone else, insisting, “Let’s focus on how to move people out of poverty.”

But Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, said, “This bill is not about bias. This is about being good stewards of taxpayer money.

“It is not about singling anyone out,” she said. “It’s just a way to say we need to make sure anyone using EBT cards are not using them for these reasons.

She said the bill mirrors federal regulations imposed last year.

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