Legislators look to crack down on public assistance abuse

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal that aims to prevent the misuse of public assistance benefits has passed the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville was unanimously approved 30-0 on Monday. The companion bill has been assigned to the House Health Subcommittee.

Under the proposal, a person who knowingly uses an electronic benefit transfer card for gambling, alcohol purchase or access to strip clubs could permanently lose their benefits after three violations.

Businesses that allow the misuse face a fine of up to $5,000 and loss of license.

Tracy says he just wants to make sure the benefits are used properly.

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