NASHVILLE — The Senate today approved legislation barring automatic teller machines (ATMs) in or near businesses that provide bail bonds, tattoos and body piercing from dispensing cash to people with welfare benefit cards.
Senators approved the measure on a 23-5 vote. It now goes to the House.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, said the bill will help deter welfare “electronic benefit transfer” or EBT cards, used by welfare recipients to make purchases or withdraw cash, from using the money inappropriately.
Businesses violating the would-be law would be subject to fines starting at $1,000 for a first offense.
Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, questioned why bail bondsmen were included in the legislation and fretted detainees would linger in jail.
Replied Campfield: "He [suspect] should have thought about that before they did whatever crime they did."
Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, said the result of barring use of EBT cards to make bail could drive up local jail costs for continued incarceration.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...