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Mich. House Votes To Restrict Food Assistance Use

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Welfare recipients would not be able to use their state-issued debit cards to draw cash from casino ATMs or buy lottery tickets, alcohol and tobacco under legislation moving through the state Legislature.

The Michigan House passed bills Wednesday that would restrict the use of Michigan Bridge Cards, used like debit cards for state food assistance and cash programs. The major bills passed 108-0 and advance to the Senate.

Monthly food assistance in Michigan is based on income, how many people are in their household and other criteria. Funds are made available on a debit card swiped through electronic reader when buying groceries.

Other bills in the package would require the state to deactivate a Bridge card when a recipient is in jail.

This vote by the House comes just one day following another welfare reform move by the state. Gov. Snyder Tuesday signed legislation that sets a 48 month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.  He said it will return cash assistance to its original intent as a transitional program to help families work toward self-sufficiency. Under the measure, more than 12,000 Michigan families will lose their welfare checks starting October first.

The state will allow exemptions to the limit for those who have a disability or are unable to work.  (More on this, here).

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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