War On The Poor: Minnesota Republicans Want To Bust Poor People Who Carry Cash

Sounds awful, doesn't it? But if one actually consults the proposed legislation rather than relying on the purple prose of writers like Suzie Madrak, (I think there's a reason she complains about being unemployed on her wannabe named blog, 'Suburban Guerilla' ), one will find something slightly different:

1.10 Subdivision 1. Electronic benefit transfer or EBT debit card. (a) Electronic
1.11 benefit transfer (EBT) debit cardholders in the general assistance program and the
1.12 Minnesota supplemental aid program under chapter 256D and programs under chapter
1.13 256J are prohibited from withdrawing cash from an automatic teller machine or receiving
1.14 cash from vendors with the EBT debit card. The EBT debit card may only be used as a
1.15 debit card.
1.16 (b) Beginning July 1, 2011, cash benefits for programs listed under paragraph (a)
1.17 must be issued on a separate EBT card with the head of household's name printed on the
1.18 card. The card must also state that "It is unlawful to use this card to purchase tobacco
1.19 products or alcoholic beverages." This card must be issued within 30 calendar days of
1.20 an eligibility determination. During the initial 30 calendar days of eligibility, a recipient
1.21may have cash benefits issued on an EBT card without the recipient's name printed on the
1.22 card. This card may be the same card on which food support is issued and does not need
1.23 to meet the requirements of this section.
2.1 (c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), EBT cardholders may opt to have up to $20
2.2 per month accessible via automatic teller machine or receive up to $20 cash back from
2.3 a vendor.

So, it looks like a rather restrictive measure to attempt to ensure that people getting these welfare grants are not using them for things like booze and tobacco, and I suppose, (since I've seen similar instruments used in PA), using them to buy groceries at stores that will take the card.

This thing actually looks pretty onerous to use in any case, and one can imagine the bureaucratic red tape that recipients have to wade through, but it's hardly criminalizing "poor" people for having cash.

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