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Va. General Assembly approves ban on welfare benefits to buy booze, tattoos

By Errin Haines,

The Virginia House of Delegates on Monday unanimously approved legislation that would ban recipients of welfare benefits from using the money at government-run liquor stores and casinos, tattoo parlors or strip clubs.

The House approved the measure by a 100 to 0 vote. The bill was also unanimously approved in the Senate earlier this month.

In the House, two amendments that would have also banned the use of welfare benefits to buy contraception and abortion drugs, as well as guns and ammunition, were not considered ahead of the vote.

A federal law passed last year requires states to put procedures in place to prevent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program funds from being used in electronic benefits transactions at such venues. The law also requires states to report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by 2014 on the policies they enact to comply with the law.

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