The days of using your welfare card to make it rain on some fine ladies dancing on the pole, and then getting yourself some booze, is now officially a thing of the past.
On Friday morning, with no debate, the Florida Senate unanimously approved the bill that will not allow the use of state issued electronic benefits cards at strip clubs, liquor stores, or casinos.
The measure will now head to Gov Rick Scott's desk to become official.
The bill, HB 701, which is sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jimmie Smith, makes it illegal to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits specifically at strip clubs, liquor stores, casinos, and porn shops.
So you're just going to have to get yourself a second job if you want to see some boobies, or get yourself a fap mag.
Those on TANF benefits get a form of debit card called an EBT from the state. They operate different from traditional food stamps, in that the cards can be used to buy just about anything without any restrictions. Until now, that is.
According to Smith, the law is necessary to keep the state from losing out on getting federal public assistance.
"It has always been my agenda to make sure that if anybody is going to use tax dollars, it's used to help," Smith said of the bill back in March. "In that, not only are we in compliance with the federal government but our tax dollars will be used to help people who really need help -- and not for personal entertainment."
Of course, this is the same Jimmie Smith who once sponsored a bill requiring people to pass a drug test to receive government assistance. So there's that.
So, to recap things so far: Thanks to the Florida Legislature, we're closer to not being able to buy ourselves a bong in the state, people won't be getting medical insurance and poor people won't be able to go to the titty bar or get a couple of beers.
So, we're basically Utah now.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.