Alabama Lawmakers To Target Welfare Abuse

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) Is it a case of welfare gone wild? One state lawmaker says he's afraid Alabama taxpayers are footing the bill for booze, cigarettes and trips to your local strip club, and now he wants fellow lawmakers to do something about it.

State Senator Arthur Orr (R)-Decatur is sponsoring a bill that would block the use of welfare benefits for frivolous items, and also hand out punishments like jail time and loss of benefits for people who try to get around the rules.

First-time offenders would have their welfare benefits suspended for one month while a third offense would lead to a permanent cutoff.

The bill was pre-filed last Friday, and will be taken up at the start of next year's regular legislative session.

"The taxpayers are tired of seeing abuses," said Orr, who told WHNT News 19 that he has received reports from local businesses about the abuse of benefits. "They [taxpayers] don't mind helping them [welfare recipients] through hard times, but to fund things like tattoos and lottery tickets, they're quite frankly running out of patience."

Orr's bill would also prevent ATM machines from accepting welfare debit cards at places like liquor stores and strip clubs. Other items that are banned in the proposal include tattoos and psychic readings.

Similar bills have already been signed into law in states like Arizona, California and Indiana.