Still OK to withdraw welfare benefits at ATMs in Colorado strip clubs

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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An attempt by Colorado lawmakers to ban welfare recipients from withdrawing their benefits at ATMs located inside strip clubs was killed by Democrats Thursday night, even though the state House’s third-ranking Democratic legislator supported the measure.

Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon lent his support to the Republican-led proposal, offered as an amendment during a debate on the state budget Thursday night, because it would hew to a similar federal rule, according to the Denver Post. Pabon introduced a bill on the issue two years ago, but it didn’t clear the state Senate.

State welfare recipients receive their benefits on debit cards that can be used for purchases just like credit cards or to withdraw cash from ATMs. Current rules already prohibit them from withdrawing money at ATMs located in liquor stores, casinos, bingo parlors and gun stores, but the strip club loophole has never been closed.

“If you’re on the dole, you shouldn’t be on the pole,” the Post quotes one Republican lawmaker as quipping when she brought up the amendment.

When he introduced a bill to ban ATM withdrawals in strip clubs in 2011, Pabon said he was worried that taxpayer money was being paid to strippers rather than used for food or to pay bills. He also cited the typically high withdrawal fees charged at ATMs in adult entertainment businesses.

But Democrats defeated the amendment Thursday, with the Post reporting that one lawmaker said people who live in poor areas and don’t have cars might not have a choice but to use a strip club ATM.

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