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EBT fraud bill stalls in assembly - 06/22/13

In the midst of last minute bill passing Friday, the New York State Assembly did not approve a bill to end the currently legal ability of EBT card holders to purchase alcohol and tobacco with taxpayer dollars.

Senate Republicans pushed the bill earlier in the week and later brought it to the floor for vote. It passed later that day.

At the press conference spearheaded by Senator Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, the Southern Tier senator said if the assembly did not take action New York State could lose as much as $125 million in federal funds in 2014 by not becoming compliant with federal law.

On Tuesday I asked the chairman of the Social Services Committee, of the assembly, where the bill stood, and if it was expected to pass this year. Michele Titus, D-Rockaway, said she was unsure if the assembly would get to the bill this session

In May, following a four month wait for a freedom of information request, we did a story showing where in the Capital Region the Electronic Benefit Cards, a form of public assistance, were used.

Records showed EBT transactions at just about every bar on Pearl Street and in Center Square. There were also transactions at the OTB on Central Avenue in Albany and at the Shenanigans Gentleman's Club in Schenectady.


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