A bipartisan bill passed by a 56 – 3 vote in the New York Senate yesterday, seeks to curb spending by welfare recipients on such frivolous items as casino gambling, strip clubs, and lottery tickets, as well as limiting the money’s use for cigarettes and alcohol.

Via the Associated Press:

New York would prohibit welfare recipients from spending their tax-funded benefits on cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, and strip clubs under a bill passed overwhelmingly by the state Senate on Tuesday.

Ten other states have already ruled social services can’t be spent on items from beer to guns.

“I understand that people need food stamps,” said Republican Sen. Thomas Libous, a Broome County Republican. “What I don’t understand is why they need to go to strip clubs, buy lottery tickets, go to a ‘racino’ or buy alcohol.”

The “Public Assistance Integrity Act” would not allow the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, and lottery tickets with welfare payments, and would prohibit ATM withdrawals using the Electronic Benefits Transfer card at certain establishments such as liquor stores and strip clubs.

Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) voted against the measure saying, “It’s a prejudice, I think, about poor people that we are seeing represented more than any statistical or study of behavior”.

Perhaps it would aid the poor in limiting their use of public assistance on things such as lottery tickets and strip clubs that will only serve to continue their financial distress?

Perkins added, “the bill would penalize a poor mother who simply withdrew money to buy milk if she used an ATM in a banned establishment to do so.”

If you can’t find an ATM other than the one at a place called Shenanigan’s to get your milk, then you’re not really fit to receive monetary benefits of any kind.

What say you?