Key Votes

H Amdt 804.1 - Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards - Key Vote

Massachusetts Key Votes

Stages

Family

Issues

Stage Details

Amendment - Introduced (House) -

Title: Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards

Amendment - Amendment Adopted (House) (123-33) - (Key vote)

Title: Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to adopt an amendment to H 4100 that limits the use of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards by welfare recipients and establishes penalties.

Highlights:
  • Prohibits any person from knowingly using or accepting direct cash assistance funds on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards for the purchase or sale of certain items including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 35):
    • Alcoholic beverages;   
    • Lottery tickets;
    • Tobacco products;
    • Strip clubs or any form of sexual content;
    • Firearms and ammunition;
    • Bail or restitution;
    • Gambling; and
    • For the rental of products or property, except for rent paid for a primary residence.
  • Prohibits certain businesses from having access devices or automatic teller machines that accept EBT cards including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 35):
    • Liquor stores;
    • Gaming establishments;
    • Firearms and ammunitions dealers;
    • Drinking establishments; and
    • Cruise ships.
  • Requires any eligible recipient of direct cash assistance who misuses an EBT card to reimburse the Department of Transitional Assistance for any purchase, and specifies that the individual will be disqualified from the assistance program for 3 months after the first offense and permanently after the second offense (Sec. 35).
  • Establishes penalties for individuals who knowingly misuse or accept direct cash assistance funds on EBT cards as follows (Sec. 35):
    • If the total value of benefits used for the purchase or sale of prohibited items is less than $100:
      • 1 year in prison or a fine of $1,000 or both for the first offense; and
      • 2.5 years in prison or a fine of $1,000 for subsequent offenses.
    • If the total value of benefits used for the purchase or sale of prohibited items is more than $100 and less than $5,000:
      • 3 years in prison or a fine of $10,000 or both for the first offense; and
      • 5 years in prison or a fine of $10,000 or both for subsequent offenses.
    • If the total value of benefits used for the purchase or sale of prohibited items is more than $5,000:
      • 20 years in prison or a fine of $250,000 or both.
  • Increases fines for individuals or store owners who accept direct cash assistance funds on EBT cards for the purchase of lottery tickets and tobacco products as follows (Sec. 35):
    • At least $1,000 for the first offense, whereas existing law specifies a fine of no more than $500;
    • At least $3,000 for the second offense, whereas existing law specifies a fine of no more than $1,000; and
    • At least $10,000 for subsequent offenses, whereas in existing law specifies a fine of at least $1,000.
  • Increases the fine for third and subsequent offenses by individuals or store owners who accept direct cash assistance funds on electronic benefit transfer cards for the purchase of alcoholic beverages from a fine of at least $1,000 to a fine of at least $10,000 (Sec. 35):
  • Authorizes the Alcoholic Beverages Commission and the State Lottery Commission to suspend or revoke the license of any individual who knowingly violates the provisions of this bill (Sec. 35).

Sponsors

  • Martha 'Marty' Walz (MA - D) (Out Of Office)