Senator Hardiman’s statement is as follows:
I rise to speak in favor of Senate Bill No. 1432. It would require state government to work with ATM suppliers to ban the distribution of assistance payments at casinos. We found that in California many recipients of welfare assistance were withdrawing payments at casinos, and we believe this offers the opportunity to use those assistance payments for something other than what they are meant for, which is basic needs.
I introduced this bill so that we would prevent that behavior in Michigan. We have not found how much has been withdrawn from casinos, but we do have records given to us by the department for the Motor City Casino and Hotel. We found that in the year between September 1, 2009, to August 31, 2010, $87,340 in assistance payments were withdrawn. Therefore, we think this bill is much-needed. We need to preserve the public confidence in our welfare system and safeguard the use of public funds. Everyone needs a little help at one point. Most taxpayers are willing to provide for that. However, that support quickly changes when there is even the appearance of fraud or abuse.
I appreciate the body taking this amendment up, and I certainly appreciate the support and work with ATM providers. I also appreciate working with Chairman Richardville and the committee for their quick action on scheduling the bill. I ask for the body’s support.