Press-Republican

Thursday

January 16, 2014

Social Service Law on Franklin County agenda

MALONE — Franklin County wants welfare recipients banned from spending monthly benefits on strip clubs, casinos, liquor stores, booze, smokes and lottery tickets.

There’s a resolution on the agenda for the County Legislature meeting, set for 9:15 a.m. today, that urges the State Assembly to follow the State Senate’s lead and pass a bill to amend Social Service Law and add restrictions similar to those for use of food stamps.

The law would prohibit “the sale or purchase of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or lottery tickets with public-assistance benefits and … use of access to such benefits at a casino, liquor store or adult-entertainment facility.”

The Senate passed a law last year that banned those types of transactions, but the Assembly did not.

The issue is surfacing with the county now because the federal government has mandated that each state have a fraud-abuse system in place by February.

Franklin County is poised to spend about $24.4 million on social-services programs in the 2014 budget, and about $3.4 million of that is listed for public assistance/Safety Net benefits.

The proposed revisions would also amend State Finance Law and establish the Public Assistance Integrity Fund.

County Legislature meetings, open to the public, are held in the fourth-floor Legislative Chambers of the County Courthouse in Malone.

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS

Other agenda items on today include an office-rental agreement and contracts for part-time consultants to collect forfeiture money and judgments with the Public Safety Committee and District Attorney Derek Champagne; budget transfers; contract-agency agreements; and job abolition and creation in Social Services and Office for the Aging.

All County Legislature meetings are open to the public.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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