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Mass. Gov. Signs Welfare Purchase Ban

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a budget proposal restricting purchases that residents can make with welfare benefits.

Patrick signed the provision into law Friday, after initially amending the measure to ban purchases at certain locations, rather than on certain items. The Legislature rejected the governor’s amendment.

Patrick said that the administration will not enforce “what cannot be enforced,” in terms of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, which hold cash assistance benefits and can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.

The proposal bans cash assistance purchases at places like nail salons, jewelry stores, liquor stores and casinos, as well as for things like tattoos, pornography and guns.

Previously, cash assistance recipients are barred from using their EBT cards to buy lottery tickets, tobacco and alcohol.