Proposal to ban welfare recipients from playing lottery

January 24, 2013 3:22:02 PM PST
North Carolina lawmakers are drafting legislation that would ban people on welfare or those who are in bankruptcy from buying lottery tickets.

Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake is helping draft the legislation. Stam told ABC11 the vendor selling the lottery ticket would be penalized if they knew the person was on welfare or in bankruptcy.

That stipulation is not sitting well with some convenience store clerks that don't want to be left to enforce a new law.

"I don't feel comfortable for somebody ask why or your financial things, so it's not my business," Peace Street Market's clerk Aref Peroz said.

But Stam suggested that in obvious cases, such as when customers pay for groceries with food stamps, they shouldn't be allowed to buy lottery tickets at the same time.

Another proposal would remove the word "Education" from the N.C. Education Lottery for advertising purposes. Stam said the word "education" shouldn't be used to sell "something that is essentially a scam," especially because lottery proceeds account for a small percentage of state education funding.

Taking away the privilege of buying lottery tickets would affect more than 1.7 million North Carolinians who are currently on food stamps.

"We're giving them welfare to help them live, and yet by selling them a ticket, we're taking away their money that is there to provide them the barest of necessities," Stam said.

But North Carolina's NAACP president said new lottery laws will not help those on government assistance.

"The NAACP, we didn't agree with the lottery to start with. Rather than Mr. Stam having a side argument, ask him to stop blocking labor rights for poor people and working people. Ask him to have a real conversation about real wage," Rev. William Barber said.

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