Welfare dollar restriction bill stalled in Senate

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A bill prohibiting welfare recipients from spending their assistance dollars on alcohol or cigarettes and preventing them from withdrawing that money as cash has been put on hold.

The Senate Finance Committee decided Monday to stall the measure by Rep. Cameron Henry while senators work on next year's $25 billion state operating budget.

An estimated $454,000 cost tied to Henry's bill, for tweaking the system that monitors the electronic benefits card, had some lawmakers debating the usefulness of a proposal that targets only a small percent of transactions. The card is issued to welfare recipients and functions like a debit card.

Henry argued there are records of the card being abused. He says even one person abusing their welfare money is enough to warrant the legislation.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)