Time for Assembly to Pass Public Assistance Integrity Act

Senate bans use of welfare cash for strip clubs, beer and lottery tickets

Last night, the Senate passed the Public Assistance Integrity Act. Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski) is a sponsor of the companion bill in the Assembly. Today, Barclay said it is time for the Assembly to pass this act that will restore respect and integrity in the public assistance system. Not only should the legislature pass this measure to ensure integrity in the system, but without this law, the federal government will penalize the state by cutting $120 million in aid for not restricting the purchase of cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets and other items not intended for purchase under the public assistance program. Barclay released the following statement today:

“Today, I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act. We need to prohibit the use of cash welfare benefits to pay for cigarettes, beer, liquor, state lottery tickets, casino games, strip clubs and illegal drugs.

“Unbelievably, the bill died in the Majority-led Assembly a year ago. This year, however, if New York doesn't act to restrict the use of public assistance monies to groceries and other necessities, the federal government will penalize the state by cutting $120 million in aid.

“This bill would limit fraud and abuse of the system and help restore, as its title suggests, integrity into the public benefits system. We need to act on this, to take steps to protect taxpayers and those who use this system as it was intended.”