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Bridge card ban at liquor store, casino, strip club ATMs moves ahead

Indiana Public Media

Michigan is one step closer to banning bridge card holders from using ATMs inside liquor stores, casinos, and strip clubs.

The state House passed the legislation Thursday with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“The use of the bridge card should be used as it is for the intent originally, making sure that families and children can have food on their table and providing for the necessities of life,” said bill sponsor Rep. Dale Zorn (R-Ida).

Bridge cards are one method the state uses to help poor people buy food. Families with children can also get cash benefits for other basic necessities.

But Zorn says it’s too easy for people to use that cash for things like alcohol and adult entertainment.

State Rep. Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit) was the only lawmaker in the House who voted against each of the bills.

“I’m just tired of politicizing the issue of poverty,” Robinson said, “demonizing the poor all the time, putting controls – like every person who’s having a tough time or needs help is going to be running to the casinos and the race track. They just demonize them.”

And for some residents in her district, Robinson says liquor stores have the only available ATMs for miles.

The state Senate passed similar legislation last month. Each package of bills still needs to be approved by the other chamber before they can go to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.