Brindisi knows tough fight ahead for legislation to preventwelfare abuse via ATMs
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is trying to ensure that taxpayer money used to fund public assistance is used for things like housing and food on the table, and not things like gambling and drinks at the strip club. The assemblyman's proposed "Public Assistance Integrity Act" seeks to do this by prohibiting ATM machines in casinos, bars, strip clubs and liquor stores from disbursing public assistance cash benefits. Brindisi acknowledges that the toughest sells on this proposed legislation will be his own democratic colleagues in the assembly. "It'll be a tough sell in the democratic conference but hopefully we can get it through, otherwise we risk losing federal funds," says Brindisi. An easy sell on the legislation was Republican Senator Joseph Griffo. "Oh, I totally agree with that. In fact in the senate, we want to re-institute face-to-face interviews and also finger imaging which was done away a couple years ago. We think that should be reinstated in fact we even talked about drug testing," says Griffo. City Liquors owner Kevin Hughes is for anything that makes the abuse of taxpayer money less easy for the abuser. However,Hughes wonders if the problem could ever be stopped as long as cash is at the core. "I don't want people to abuse the system, so I don't oppose this legislation," Hughes said. "But I'm also realistic and I know that if people want to drink or go to strip clubs, that they will use another ATM." In order to become law, the proposal would have to be passed by the Senate, the Assembly and signed into law by the Governor.