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Assistance programs bill clears State House

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Posted at 5:19 AM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 06:21:10-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A bill proposing changes to Kentucky’s public assistance programs cleared the State House and now it's headed to the Senate.

The goal of House Bill 1 is to shift more people off public assistance and into the workforce.

The bill would prohibit the use of cash assistance benefits to buy certain items or make purchases at certain places, restrict the use of SNAP benefits when purchasing certain beverages, and ban withdrawing cash using an electronic benefit transfer card, among other provisions.

Democratic lawmakers objected to parts of the bill. They described them as harsh toward the working poor.

Critics also say fraud rates in public assistance programs are low.

Supporters of the bill say it provides a balance between compassion for those in need of public assistance and accountability to prevent abuse.