Politics

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick vetoes ban on purchasing tattoos, manicures, porn with EBT

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has vetoed the state legislature’s attempt to ban the use of EBT cards — or food stamps — to purchase items such as tattoos, porn and jewelry.

Patrick vetoed the reforms Sunday while signing the state’s $32.5 billion budget.

According to the Boston Herald, which first reported the veto, the governor berated the legislature’s stab at banning the purchase of specific items like manicures, tattoos, guns, porn, body piercings, jewelry, and bail by saying the move was “political grandstanding” at a time when such reforms are already on track elsewhere.

“I’m not going to do anything that makes vulnerable people beg for their benefits. This notion of humiliating poor people has got to be separated from how we make a program, and frankly separated and disposed of, from how we make a program work and work well,” Patrick said, according to Wicked Local Hanson.

Patrick allowed bans on the use of EBT cards in establishments known for the sale of seemingly controversial items — such as tattoo parlors, gun shops, casinos, cruise ships, and adult entertainment facilities —- to stand.

House Minority Leader Brad Jones pointed out, however, that the items slated to be banned — such as porn and guns — could still be purchased at other facilities.

The Massachusetts governor based his decision on the independent EBT Card Commission’s ruling that banning specific items was, among other reasons, difficult to enforce, according to The Herald. He did however, veto bans on the use of EBT in places like nail salons and jewelry stores.

The vetoed reforms were reportedly a bipartisan effort out of both houses of the state legislature.

Democratic state Rep. Russell Holmes said that there remains support for real change to the EBT program.

“It is still something that’s very much a priority for the Legislature. Clearly we’ve gotten this far,” Holmes told the Herald.

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