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Politics

Alfond Proposes Welfare Legislation

AUGUSTA, Maine — Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland says he will propose legislation that outlaws the use of cash welfare benefits to buy lottery tickets.

Additionally, if a lottery winner is receiving those benefits, they would be cut off from welfare, under the proposal.

"We want to make sure that we are giving benefits to those who are most needy, and if you just won a big lottery, then you are probably no longer in that category, so let's look at this very specific, narrow, targeted welfare reform," he says.

Senate Republicans were quick to point out that Alfond voted against a bill sponsored by Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau that would have banned use of any welfare benefit to buy lottery tickets.

Alfond says that bill didn't address the issue of buying lottery tickets with welfare benefits. He hopes Republicans will support a narrowly crafted bill aimed at the problem.

"They're tired of the wrangling, they are tired of both parties blaming each other," he says. "What I hope today's release does is bring the parties together and say there is welfare reform we both believe in. Let's work on it and get it done."