Sen. Jones: Bridge Cards not for gambling

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LANSING — Bridge Card users would be prohibited from using them to withdraw cash from casino ATMs under legislation approved by the Michigan Senate Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

According to the Michigan Department of Human Services, instead of paper food stamps and paper checks, individuals needing assistance are issued an “Electronic Benefit Transfer” debit card known as a Bridge Card to purchase food products and access cash benefits.

“Cash assistance is meant for basic needs of life, not for parents to be gambling and drinking,” Jones said.

Jones’ measure, Senate Bill 109, complements the pledge made by Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan to stop Bridge Card abuse in the state.

Recently, DHS ended Bridge Cards for many college students in the state who should not have been eligible to receive these benefits.

“My measure will go a long way to helping ensure that those who really need assistance to feed their families and survive get it, not those who want to abuse the system and gamble with taxpayer money,” Jones said. “Taxpayer funds should not be used for gambling and my bill will help put an end to this deplorable abuse.”

According to DHS, more than $87,000 was withdrawn from Detroit’s Motor City Casino ATMs using Bridge Cards between July 2009 and July 2010.

SB 109 will now go before the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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