LANSING—A package of legislation that seeks to puts restrictions on how Bridge Cards can be used at liquor stores, horse racing tracks and gentlemen’s clubs has been approved by the Michigan Legislature and is on the way to the governor for his signature, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.
“This is a positive step in the right direction to making sure Bridge Cards are being used for their intended purpose—providing the basic necessities to get by,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.
Last year, Jones sponsored legislation that banned cash withdrawals from Bridge Cards in casinos. Earlier this year, Jones was alerted that Bridge Cards were being used in gentlemen’s clubs and liquor stores, and he introduced legislation to stop this practice.
The six-bill package will prohibit cash withdrawals at horse racing tracks and place a provision on a liquor store’s liquor license to prohibit the use of a Bridge Card at the point of sale. Under this change a liquor license would be revoked if a liquor store does not comply with the policy. Bridge Cards will still be accepted at grocery stores.
“I challenge anyone to argue that lap dances and trips to the race track are basic necessities,”Jones said.
A bill passed last year by the federal government says that states must comply with new guidelines in order to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grants, including preventing assistance provided under the state program from being used in any EBT
transaction in liquor stores, gaming establishments or any retail establishment that provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe.
If no change is made, a penalty equal to up to 5 percent of the block grants will be deducted beginning in 2014, which could amount to roughly $40 million in funding losses for the state.
“I would like to thank state Representative Margret O’Brien of Portage and Representative Dale Zorn of Ida for all of their hard work on this issue,” Jones said. “They both played major roles in helping to pass this measure.”