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Sen. Hoffman co-authors bill to fight welfare waste

Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, is a co-author of Senate File 0075 with Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, Sen. Dave Brown, R-Becker, and Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson.

This legislation seeks to eliminate welfare waste through limited, in-state only use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. Representative Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, will carry the legislation in the House. Magnus and Daudt introduced their bills on Thursday, Jan. 20 and the Senate bill was then referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

EBT cards provide cash and food support benefits to Minnesotans. The proposed legislation prohibits EBT recipients from cashing out their benefits or using their cards to purchase tobacco products, alcohol or lottery tickets. In addition, it eliminates out-of-state use of EBT cards and requires cashiers to request photo identification at the point of sale. Senator Hoffman released the following statement regarding this piece of legislation.

"I echo both Sen. Magnus and Rep. Daudt. As stewards of taxpayer money it is our job to assure that people receiving funds from taxpaying Minnesotans are accountable and that they use the funds for the basic necessities of life," said Hoffman.

"Fraud in the system will only endanger those truly in need. Sen. Magnus' and Rep. Daudt's bill will enhance restrictions to ensure that EBT cards are being used for their intended purposes," added Hoffman.

The current system has come under intense scrutiny for misuse. In August 2008, Minnesota House Republicans uncovered data from the Minnesota Department of Human Services showing that 309,717 EBT transactions took place in other states other than Minnesota costing taxpayers more than $10 million. An investigative report by KSTP-TV uncovered 54,000 transactions in September 2010 took place in states other than Minnesota including Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Of those transactions, 101 were at liquor stores in eight different states.

Senator Hoffman was elected to her first term in November 2010. Senator Hoffman can be reached at (651) 296-5655 (office) or