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Posted: February 23, 2013 9:36 p.m.

Dickerson hails food-service bill

State Rep. Pam Dickerson, D-Conyers, celebrated the passage a house bill she introduced, H.B. 101, which exempts some temporary food service establishments from certain regulations.

Dickerson, who represents District 113, including a small portion of Rockdale County and western Newton County, introduced the bill to help boost temporary businesses in Georgia by exempting temporary food vendors at events like festivals and fairs from an arduous food service application process. 

“I truly believe that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and I want to do my part to eliminate unnecessary red-tape,” said Dickerson.

For more information, go to pamforthepeople.com.

 

Welch bill to limit EBT use

State Rep. Andy Welch, R-McDonough, has introduced H.B. 138, which would limit where some Electronic Benefit Transfer cards can be used and what they can be used to purchased.

According to a released statement, the bill is needed to bring Georgia into compliance with recently passed federal law by placing restrictions on the use of EBT cards issued through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, including disallowing the cards to be used at liquor stores and adult entertainment establishments and preventing them from being used to purchase lottery tickets, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, pornographic materials, firearms and ammunition, vacation services, tattoos or body piercing, jewelry, salon services, gambling and gift cards.

This legislation would also prevent TANF recipients from using their EBT cards to withdraw cash from an ATM or retail establishment and would prohibit using an EBT card to pay fines, fees, bail, or bail bonds to any government entity.

“H.B. 138 is designed to reduce fraud and misuse of TANF funds for purposes that in no way benefit the families and children who desperately need public assistance,” Welch said in a press release.

HB 138 also requires the Georgia Department of Human Services to establish a toll-free phone number and a website for reporting violations of these provisions. The toll-free phone number and website would have to be operational by Dec. 1. Retail establishments that accept TANF payment would also be required to post a sign at each register listing all the products prohibited from being purchased with EBT cards, along with the phone number and website for reporting violations. These establishments must also keep receipts of all purchases made with EBT cards for 180 days.

If enacted into law, any retail establishment found in violation of any part of H.B. 138 would be subject to penalties established by the human services department, which may include fines or a suspension or prohibition from accepting TANF payments. The human services department would also be empowered to reduce TANF benefits by 25 percent to any recipient who violates this legislation for the first time and to terminate benefits upon a recipient’s second violation within a time period to be determined by the state.

 

Finally, this legislation requires the human services department to take necessary steps to establish and enforce policies aimed at preventing improper use of EBT cards.

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