by Bob and Sandy Weston, Fulton
We appreciate Assemblyman Will Barclay’s “View from the Assembly” column in the Feb. 16 edition of The Valley News. He continues to provide all of us with up-to-date information on issues that are being presented to the Assembly for their consideration.
We especially found this week’s column concerning the public assistance benefit system and also legislation that would require a criminal background check on those applying for public benefits both timely and on target.
The legislation that he sponsors called the Public Assistance Integrity Act would prohibit anyone who receives public benefits from using EBT (Electronic Benefits Card) for the purchase of cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets or adult material.
It would also penalize retailers from offering these items in exchange for public assistance benefits and prohibit the withdrawal of cash with an EBT card at casinos, liquor stores or adult establishments.
This resolution passed the Senate last year but did not come up for a vote in the Assembly.
Assemblyman Barclay will be reintroducing the Act this year plus one that will require a criminal background check on those applying for public benefits. He pointed out last year that a man received public assistance in New York while he was wanted for attempted murder in South Carolina.
We realize, as many citizens do, that at times we may find ourselves in a situation where we might need assistance from a public agency. Ours is not one of making those decisions as to what people should receive but we feel, as many citizens do, that money coming from the taxpayer should be used for essentials only.
While most people who receive public assistance are appreciative and responsible something must be done for those who are not. That is why we feel what Assemblyman Barclay is proposing is a common sense measure that establishes guidelines and standards. We know that Assemblyman Barclay would like to hear from those of you who feel the same way.